In these challenging times when the country is facing an unprecedented medical crisis and the healthcare system is collapsing under its weight, doctors have been recommending to keep a few hacks in mind to manage Covid-19 symptoms at home. One of the easiest ways to keep your oxygen level in check and to keep your lungs healthy is proning.
What is proning?
If a patient is suffering from respiratory distress, they should be turned with precise, safe motions from their back onto their abdomen, so that they are lying face down. It has been in practice for decades in the United States. Now, it has entered common use with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The health ministry has also issued a guideline on the process of proning for self-care for Covid-19 patients at home in India.
What do you need for proning?
If the oxygen level drops below 94% and a patient is waiting for medical help or is in home isolation, all they need to do is to lie down on their stomach.A patient requires four to five pillows for the process of proning. While one pillow has to be placed below the neck, one or two can be placed below the chest through the upper thighs and two other pillows should be placed below the shins.
The patient needs to change their lying position every 30 minutes from lying on the belly to lie on each side and then sitting up before going back to the first position of lying face down.
How does proning help?
Covid patients have a very low oxygen level due to the damage caused by the virus on the red blood cells in their body. The virus can badly affect the heart, lungs andmuscles because of which many patients report shortness of breath. This has increased the demand for supplemental oxygen manifold. Many states have even reported a shortage. A normal oxygen level is usually 95% or higher.
Proning improves ventilation, keeps the alveolar units open, ensuring that they are less likely to require ventilator support.
Things to note: The prone method is a temporary substitute and not a replacement for hospitals or oxygen cylinders. If you notice your oxygen levels dipping considerably, contact a medical authority. If you feel any Covid-19 symptoms or test positive, here’s a 9 step guide from the Indian Medical Association on what to do.