With the onset of HIV infection, a range of symptoms manifest themselves in various stages. These symptoms can range from mild to life threatening. If not dealt with properly, they can hamper one’s work and daily activities. Below are helpful tips on how to safely deal with the most common HIV and AIDS symptoms.
Nausea and vomiting
- Instead of eating three square meals a day, try several smaller meals at spaces of around one or two hours. This will keep your digestive system from getting overwhelmed.
- Keep away from high fat foods. Instead try low fat ones.
- Substitute greasy and spicy foods with bland foods. Food with mild odours can also help.
- Try eating cold food instead of hot foods.
- In between meals, grab some rest but do not lie down flat.
- If nausea still persists, consult the doctor for some medication to deal with it.
- Eat more cooked foods rather than raw ones such as vegetables.
- Just like for nausea, avoid greasy meals. Additionally, eat several small meals in a day and eat slowly.
- Take more healthy fluids such as dilute fruit juices and water.
- Reduce the amount of caffeinated drinks you drink such as coffee and energy drinks.
- Reduce the intake of milk and sugar.
- For a brief period of time you can try out the Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast (B.R.A.T) diet.
- If it persists you can use supplements. Carbonate and fibre supplements can help.
- Engage in frequent exercise. This increases energy demand and consequently appetite.
- Reduce the amount of drinks you take before meals.
- Again, smaller and more frequent meals are better than three square meals a day.
- Make the meals more exciting by trying a variety of colours, shapes and texture while maintaining nutritional requirements. Eating with family and friends also helps.
- In extreme cases you can seek for medication that stimulates appetite from the doctor.
The best way to combat this problem is by increasing the level of calorie intake. Increase the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats you take in your meals. Other weigh-increasing methods include;
- Add ice cream to your dessert.
- Nuts and dried foods can also help. You can eat them as snacks.
If the weight loss is as a result of not eating due to nausea or low appetite, see the above tips on how to tackle the two challenges.
- Mash or blend your foods or eat soft meals such as yogurt, bananas and pears.
- Cook vegetables instead of eating them raw.
- Avoid acidic foods such as lemons, oranges and tomatoes.
Fat redistribution syndrome or Lipodystrophy
This is a condition where one loses abnormal amounts of fat tissue from certain areas of the body.
- Reduce or completely avoid Trans and saturated fats such as those in whole milk and processed foods.
- Reduce alcohol intake and also limit the amount of sugar ingested.
- To avoid insulin (which helps regulates fat breakdown) resistance limit the intake of foods that lead to high glucose and insulin amounts. These foods are mostly carbohydrates. Instead, opt for foods rich in fibre such as vegetables, grains and fruits.
- Regular exercise.
Remember, if any of the above symptoms become severe, seek medical attention as quickly as possible.