3 Things to Know About Life After Recovering From COVID-19
When your COVID-19 symptoms were at their worst, you were probably solely focused on the basics: resting, hydrating and monitoring yourself for worsening symptoms.
Now, as your road to recovery becomes clearer and clearer, you may be wondering what your “new normal” will look like once your symptoms subside. Unlike the common illnesses you’re used to, like a cold or the flu, COVID-19 comes with a few extra question marks.
How long will I be contagious? Should I be worried about these lingering symptoms? Does this mean I don’t have to get vaccinated or wear a mask anymore?
Here to help you understand what life looks like after recovering from COVID-19 is Dr. Joshua Septimus, associate professor of clinical medicine and medical director of Houston Methodist Primary Care Group Same Day Clinics.
Don’t leave home while you’re still contagious
A person with COVID-19 is thought to be most contagious in the days immediately leading up to symptom onset (aka, the presymptomatic period) and throughout the first several days of his or her symptoms.
But, it can take several more days for a person’s immune system to actually clear the virus from the body.
“Most studies show that by the end of 10 days of infection, your body has cleared the active virus,” says Dr. Septimus.
When it comes to staying home long enough to ensure you’re no longer contagious, here’s the general rule of thumb:
“A person with COVID-19 is likely no longer contagious after 10 days have passed since testing positive for coronavirus, and 72 hours after resolution of his or her respiratory symptoms and fever,” Dr. Septimus explains.
This means that, even if your symptoms are clearing up and you’re feeling better, it’s imperative that you continue following self-quarantine guidelines to ensure you don’t inadvertently spread COVID-19 to others.
Some symptoms may last longer than you’d like
COVID-19 comes with a pretty long list of symptoms — the most common being fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.
Both the severity and duration of these symptoms vary from person to person, but some symptoms are more likely to last well into your recovery period.
“Some symptoms of COVID-19 linger longer than others,” says Dr. Septimus. “In particular, fatigue and loss of taste and smell can persist beyond the period of contagion.”
While uncomfortable and/or inconvenient, Dr. Septimus adds that these lingering symptoms aren’t too worrisome for most people.
You still need to get vaccinated, wear a mask and social distance
Immunity is complicated and, yes, you can still get reinfected with COVID-19.
In fact, a recent study found that unvaccinated adults were twice as likely to get reinfected with COVID-19 than those who got vaccinated after they’d recovered from their illness.
“We still know very little about the immune system’s response to this virus, including how long protective immunity may or may not last,” Dr. Septimus warns. “What we do have a clear understanding of is the strong protection that vaccine-induced immunity provides.”
What does this mean for you?
Even after recovering from COVID-19, it’s imperative that you get vaccinated and continue to practice the preventive measures that protect yourself and others from the virus, including social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands regularly.
“The universal precautions that help prevent the spread of COVID-19 are just that — universal,” Dr. Septimus adds. “We’re all in this together, and we’re all responsible for keeping our community safe. Each and every one of us needs to take these precautions seriously, regardless of whether you’ve already had COVID-19 or not.”
Covid-19 created a record-level disruption across several industries, forcing employers to respond at a record-level pace — including implementing remote jobs on the spot, while, as much as possible, easing employees’ concerns to reduce worry and stress. Now, in a few weeks, states will reopen and many of us will return to an unrecognizable life. Leaving most of us will be wondering, what will the new normal be?
No one can predict the future, but we can see trends, and the more you are able to spot them, the better your chances are of having retaining a (good) job and securing your future.
As long as there is no vaccine and there is no cure, the way we engage with physical product and services will change. Many will reframe from the desire to touch or be touched. In just a few months, human contact (in large parts of the world) has become one of the most feared gestures, not to mention the unthinkable scenario being in a small room with many people.
There are now fears about what life post-COVID-19 will look like, which can take an emotional toll. It can drain one’s energy and eat away at one’s creativity and ability to stay innovative. As a result, businesses should acknowledge the long-term changes created by the spread of Covid-19 and adjust to thrive through these turbulent times, whether it is expanding product offerings or services, learning new ways to showcase your product, such as virtually, or transforming your existing physical store into an online shop, all while exploring various marketing strategies that will retain and attract customers, even post-COVID.
The time we are in now can remind us of World War II, in that sense, many of the innovations we enjoy today were invented during the war or right after. Crises, challenges, and constraints can be used as a driving force.
Just six months ago, many feared losing their jobs to robots and automation. Almost overnight, we are no longer talking about that fear, or at least we’re talking about it less. However, COVID19 may increase that automatization trend to eliminate human contact and minimize coronavirus risk. Soon, we will see many more ways of paying, buying without touching or being touched, and vending machines, I predict they will make a serious comeback, selling virtually everything you’ll need, such as masks and food.
The world will become “hands-free”, and by that, I mean the delivery of products and services completely without physical human contact of any kind – we will not “touch and do not want to be touched”.
For example. Japan has a restaurant chain named “Ichiran,” a so-called “low-interaction dining.” The customers order food with as little human connection as possible. We will see more concepts like this. Be it robot coffee shops, hydromassage, etc., you name it!
I know it can be hard to see the “light at the end of the tunnel,” especially if you have lost your job or your business is closed. The future will undoubtedly be different; however, it will not be job-free, but instead, hands-free.
Therefore, companies must read the market and deliver what customers are looking for. For example, the tourism industry has adjusted drastically, offering armchair experiences that will allow us to experience destinations right from the comfort of our own homes, while also inspiring travel to these destinations as soon as travel restrictions ease.
For example, New York State, the home to many beloved attractions, is offering dozens of online events, virtual tours, webcams and live streams events. Whether it’s taking a 360-degree tour of the Wild Center or the Corning Museum of Glass, visiting a cuddly animal at a zoo, browsing a world-class art collection, or practicing deep breathing in a live stream yoga class, you can basically experience an entire state and even country right from your couch!
Workplace Post-Covid 19
Post-Covid-19, there will be an influx of new talent in the market, take this opportunity to invest in your workplace culture.
The right workspace culture and setup can inspire and allow employees to make the most of their time in the office or home office. It is crucial to inspire and motivate your employees to be the best they can be. If they feel uninspired, they will find reasons to work less, and their work quality can decrease. Perhaps it is time for companies to allocate resources and a budget for employees’ at-home workstations? How about investing in your employee’s wellness? Perhaps it’s time to provide them with free meditation apps, healthy meals that can be delivered to their door, an online wellness coach, a spinning bike, to stay fit and healthy mentally and physically.
According to Oztanık and Satıroğlu co-founders at Assembly Buildings, “Workplace culture has a decisive role in shaping employee experience. As a result, employee experience has become a crucial subject. Over the last decade, we have observed how leading companies take care of their community and employees delicately. At Assembly Buildings, we combine human resources, information technology and facility management and office operations that companies can customize for their employees to create purposeful work-life destinations.” Oztanık and Satıroğlu continue, “A tailored set of physical spaces, interactive programs, service offerings, wellbeing products, [and] remote working infrastructures must be delivered both by private companies and by commercial property buildings as common practice.” The founders continue, “Soon, we will see an agile mix and match portfolio approach that companies, employees, and building owners enjoy, such as an HQ office, satellite offices, and remote working options, that deliver a customized, high caliber user experience while optimizing office expenses by up to 50%.”
The alteration of the customary office culture will not only boost employee confidence but can also trigger creativity that can produce results. Many employees are working from home or will look for employers that can offer flexible workplace options as many will still feel uncomfortable working in close proximity to others.
Mental health Post-COVID-19
The coronavirus crisis will continue to have many feeling lonely, helpless and looking for support, especially for those who have lost loved ones, may not have a job or a business to return to.
Additionally, for many people, the general uncertainty of what lies ahead has created a heightened level of anxiety and burnout. According to a recent survey published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of the people living in the United States feel the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health.
According to Fernanda Neis and Gustavo Oliveira experts at the DeRose Meditation, “In a brief period, the pandemic may have accelerated or created challenges companies and professionals have been facing during modern times. These challenges can include the immense volume of information we deal with, hyper-connectivity, the complexity and uncertainty about the future, the speed of change, and working from home.”
Neis and Oliveira also recommend that company leaders should provide ways for professionals to develop new skills such as self-managing their personal and professional lives in the same space, staying focused while working at home, establishing trust in virtual relationships, and handling increased levels of anxiety caused by the uncertainty of the future.
Solving these challenges will be critical to the company’s success since it will profoundly impact employee engagement, productivity and the ability to adapt to adversity. Remember, life after Covid-19 does not have to be scary. Take this time to turn challenges into opportunities and be the leader that will rise to the ‘occasion’.