Nutrition and hydration management

What you need to do:

1. Stay hydrated

Being well hydrated helps your body to function, and aids mobilisation and recovery.

  • Drink regularly throughout the day – aim to have eight cups of fluid each day.
  • Take small, frequent sips of liquids every few minutes if you are not able to drink large amounts at one time.
  • Aim to drink enough fluid to keep your urine a pale straw colour.
  • If you have a raised temperature, your fluid needs may be higher.
  • All fluids (except alcohol) count, try to include nourishing fluids such as milky drinks or juices.

2. Eat a varied and nourishing diet:

You may require more nutrition than usual to support your body during and after illness.

Dieting with the aim of reducing body weight is not recommended during acute illness or recovery, due to the risk of reducing your muscle mass, strength and ability to carry out day to day tasks.

Long COVID can affect peoples’ appetite and weight in different ways. Some people find they gain unwanted weight and others suffer with a reduced appetite and consequently lose weight.

A well-balanced diet contains foods from all the food groups.

The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.

You do not need to achieve this balance with every meal, but try to get the balance right over a day or even a week.

For more information visit: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat- well/the-eatwell-guide/

Unwanted weight changes

Unintentional weight gain

Some people find themselves eating more than normal due to low mood, boredom, comfort eating or wanting to boost energy levels.

They may also be less physically active and therefore more likely to gain weight.

To help minimise unintentional weight gain keep high fat, sugary foods and sugary drinks to a minimum.

Instead choose healthier alternatives.

For more detail visit https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat- well/healthy-food-swaps/

Unintentional weight loss

For others long COVID can cause a poor appetite which results in eating significantly less than normal.

To help minimise unintentional weight loss eat regularly (by the clock rather than waiting to feel hungry).

Eat little and often having nourishing snacks and drinks in between your meal.

If untreated unintentional weight loss can lead to malnutrition.

Ask your health professional if you are struggling to regain your weight.

For more advice on managing a poor appetite and preventing malnutrition visit https://www.bda.uk.com/ resource/malnutrition.html