On the 3rd April 2020, a breathing exercise was demonstrated by Dr Sarfaraz Munshi, an urgent care lead at Queen’s Hospital in London, through a video uploaded on Youtube.
The breathing technique was intended to help coronavirus patients reduce the chance of contracting secondary infections/pneumonia with these simple steps:
- Take a deep breath and hold it for 5 seconds.
- Repeat this 5 times.
- On the sixth breath, release the air (exhale) by doing a big cough – making sure you are covering your mouth.
- Do this whole cycle twice.
- Lie on your front with a pillow on your stomach and take slightly deep breaths for ten minutes.
How does it help the lungs?
Deep breaths are a good exercise not only for clearing mucus out from the lungs, but it also opens up the small airways, making the oxygen reach a larger part of the lungs, which if not will essentially close and become weak against infections, says Michael Niederman at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. Also, added Ema Swingwood, chair of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care, that when lungs are well oxygenated, it increases the oxygen that the body gets and therefore releasing a greater amount of carbon dioxide.
For people who have respiratory conditions, this exercise basically helps the lungs fight the infection so it does not get worst, open the lungs’ airway, and clear sticky mucus while for healthy people, Jonathan Bayuk, allergist and immunologist at American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, says that the exercise is even better so the lungs can become stronger and reduce the chance of it getting infected.
Is this enough to fight COVID-19?
Even though this exercise is used to help people with respiratory infections and was also claimed to have a great contribution to the covid19 symptoms recovery of author J.K. Rowling, as she posted via Twitter, it still does not have a medical proof to have an effect on COVID19 patients. Dr Munshi also persisted that this is far from a cure, but a technique people can practice to maintain an oxygenated/stronger lungs and to make covid19 patients feel and breathe better.
The only precaution that is proven and being advised is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, observe proper hygiene, and always keep a 1-meter distance away from the public.