Coping With Symptoms of HIV / AIDS
When you feel tired, your body is using
most of its energy to fight infection. You need rest, but
you also need to eat well so your body has the necessary fuel
to do its job. If you do not have the energy to cook, here
are some suggestions to make preparing food easier:
Call a food delivery service. Most large cities have a Meals
on Wheels program. Some AIDS agencies offer home delivery
of cooked meals or volunteers who can cook for you. Home health
agencies can send a home health aide who can cook for you,
if you have insurance that pays for this service.
Buy take-out food. Make sure this food is not greasy (high
in fat) as it may make you feel nauseous.
Ask a friend or family member to cook for you.
Make blender drinks with protein powders or liquid nutritional
drinks available in your drugstore, supermarket or health
food store. Add fruit or fruit juice if you don't have diarrhea.
Use microwave ovens.
Keep a stool in the kitchen so you can sit down while you
Cook extra food when you feel well and freeze it in individual
servings. Or have a family member do this for you.
Keep a crock pot and a cooler in your room. This way you can
have hot or cold foods within reach when you want them. Be
careful to keep cold foods very cold as spoiled food will
make you sick.
Use paper plates and plastic eating utensils. This will help
if you are too tired to wash dishes after eating.
Diarrhea can have many causes, including
opportunistic infections, medication and emotional stress.
You will need to drink plenty of fluids to replace the ones
you are losing. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day!
Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Also, eating certain foods and avoiding
others will help. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and
an HIV-knowledgeable nutritionist to design a diet specifically
for you. Emphasize white, starchy foods, including bananas,
potatoes, whit rice, white bread, macaroni, noodles and spaghetti
made with white flour, oatmeal, yogurt, saltine crackers.
Both bananas and potatoes will replace lost potassium, necessary
for energy and immune system strength. Apple peelings (just
the skin) can also help stop certain forms of diarrhea.
High fiber foods like leafy, green vegetables, raw fruits
and vegetables, brown rice, and other whole grains, beans,
nuts, corn, popcorn, or dried fruit may make diarrhea worse.
Avoid spicy food like chili, salsa, and gumbo.
Avoid greasy (high fat) foods like deep fried chicken, most
snack foods, french fries, bacon, hamburgers, sausages, lunch
meat, gravy, mayonnaise, and butter, all of which may increase
diarrhea and nausea.
If you have gas or cramps, avoid foods like
bell peppers, raw garlic, onions, beans, cabbage, brussel
sprouts, beer, and sodas.
You can usually eat clear soups, tuna packed
in water, hot and cold cereals, lean meats, tofu, baked or
roasted fish and chicken, low fat or nonfat milk, cottage
cheese, nonfat yogurt, cooked eggs, canned fruits, cooked
vegetables, pasta with tomato sauce, mashed, boiled or baked
potatoes (without the skin), sandwiches with mustard, sherbert,
clear fruit juices and nectars. Emphasize mangoes, bananas,
oranges juice, and fruit to replace lost minerals.
Nausea and Vomiting
Both of these symptoms can be caused by
AIDS-related infections or drugs. Taking medication before
or after meals may make drugs easier to take. Ask your doctor
about changing your medication if you are getting very nauseous,
vomiting frequently, and are not eating. Try dry foods such
as toast, crackers (saltines), or dry cereals straight from
the box. Eat simple foods, especially one-dish meals like
soups, puddings, custards, rice, macaroni, noodles, cream
of wheat, oatmeal, bananas, cottage cheese, ice cream, yogurt,
or mashed potatoes.
Stay away from fried, high fat, or spicy foods
Drink liquids 30 to 60 minutes after you eat. Try flat carbonated
drinks between meals (like ginger ale).
lie down for at least two hours after you eat. If you do lay
down, keep your upper body higher than your feet.
Eat small amounts of food more often during the day.
Avoid very sweet foods. Salty foods might be helpful.
Sometimes you may feel too tired to eat.
You may just not have an appetite. But it is important to
try to eat anyway. Your body needs lots of nourishment to
Try drinking your meals. Make blender drinks with fruit, fruit
juice, ice cream, yogurt, and other milk products that taste
delicious. You can include protein powders to add nutrients.
Try to eat something every hour or two if you cannot eat a
whole meal at once.
Eat only your favorite foods.
Eat with someone whose company you enjoy.
Ask a friend or family member to cook for you.
Mouth and Throat Soreness
A sore mouth or throat might be caused by
an infection, medication, or vomiting. Try soft foods and
blender drinks. Yogurt, ice cream, creamed soups, cooked cereals,
baby food, applesauce, mashed bananas, custards, jello, sherberts,
Suck on ice cubes and popsicles. You can freeze fruit juice
in ice cube trays with toothpicks in them for homemade popsicles.
Drink through a straw.
Moisten dry food. Add creamed sauces to meat and vegetables.
Dip toast and crackers in milk.
Cut food into small pieces.
Avoid salty, spicy, rough, or crunchy foods. Eat well-cooked
vegetables, canned fruit, or soft casseroles like macaroni
Avoid citrus fruits, pineapples, and tomatoes.
Avoid very hot foods and drinks.
Take good care of yourself. There are many
responses to these side effects. If your symptoms don't respond
to these suggestions, your doctor can prescribe medication
to help stop diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, and
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