Breathlessness is the uncomfortable sensation of not being able to breathe either at rest or during any physical activity. Breathlessness makes it feel as if sufficient air cannot be taken into the lungs. This is also referred to as dyspnea, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
COVID-19 is a multi-system disease that primarily manifests with respiratory symptoms. The infection with SARS-COV-2 that results in COVID-19 attacks the lung tissue and causes a range of breathing difficulties. Shortness of Breath is a concerning symptom for individuals with COVID-19 and depending on the severity can be associated with complications. Breathlessness arises due to the inability of the body to get oxygen from the lungs into the blood. Also, the reaction of the immune system to the inflammation that takes place exacerbated the pulmonary impairment.
Breathlessness is commonly associated with the feeling of chest tightness. In COVID-19 this is usually not accompanied by wheezing as the airways are not obstructed. Breathlessness is usually exacerbated by exercise and in more severe cases can be noticed with normal day-to-day activities such as walking up and down stairs. When symptoms are severe, a person could continuously struggle to catch breath, bringing about an uncomfortable and unsettling sensation.
There are three steps that you can take at home to achieve relief to Breathlessness associated with respiratory infections such as COVID-19.
This is the stepping stone to achieving relief from breathlessness through exercise.
This technique which is also known as belly breathing, is simple and easy to follow.
Once breath control techniques are mastered, the following techniques can be combined to achieve enhanced results. Out of the techniques given, it is better to talk to a physiotherapist to find the best techniques for the body.
In this method, the person should be sat in a comfortable position ensuring the neck and shoulders are at a relaxed position.
However, clear focus must be put to ensure that exhaling is done gently and blowing out is only done as far as it is comfortable to the body.
This technique aids to slow the pace of breathing and makes breathing more effective.
This method is also known as coherent breathing. In this technique, the person who is having the inability to breathe has to lie down with eyes closed.
This breathing technique can be used to open up the chest muscles and the diaphragm in order to regulate air flow.
The special feature in this technique, which is humming, ensures the person is in a calm mood ensuring that the mind remains in the restoration mode.
Breathlessness is closely associated with the lungs and the diaphragm. Therefore, positions that encourage the efficient function of the lungs and diaphragm help get rid of shortness of Breath. However, it is important to note that safety of the entire body has to be cautiously looked at before trying these positions
Smoking is one of the extremely high risk factors for dyspnea. Smoke-related lung diseases aggravate the effect COVID-19 has on the respiratory system. Hence, quitting smoking as a lifestyle change would positively affect fighting Breathlessness.
Cooling the face with a cold wet towel helps to reduce the sensation of breathlessness. This helps to cool down the entire body giving relief to shortness of breath.