Looking after your lungs on your return to activity post COVID

COVID - 19 causes chest tightness and fatigue at the very least with more severe chest complications in some that are affected. Pneumonia in the short term and some speculate chronic lung damage in others.
After my personal brush with COVID I feel the need to educate on best lung care and recovery practices. We don't know as much as we would like to regarding the long term effects of COVID-19, but we do know that after having it we need to help our body and most specifically our lungs recover to get back to what we love to do best - whether that is exercise or just walking up the steps to the canteen without feeling out of breathe.

1.) While you are sick make sure to do regular deep diaphragmatic breathing to prevent the recesses of your lungs from collecting fluid or collapsing from poor full inhalation - this may help to keep a secondary pneumonia infection away.
2.) Do short regular walks all the while monitoring your heart rate and SATS (how much oxygen you have in your blood).
3.) Steam or nebulise 3 times per day to make sure your lungs remain healthy - your doc can prescribe meds or saline if you don't have serious symptoms can be helpful.
4.) Rub your chest with good old vicks vapour rub to aid airways.
5.) Keep your chest cavity mobile by doing big arm movements and thoracic stretches.
6.) Listen to your body and allow for adequate active rest.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but for those of you who'd like to keep your lungs as healthy as you can in these uncertain times these are useful tips.

Please feel free to call us should you need more information or help in your post COVID recovery return to sport and activity of daily living.(ph: 033 345 4020)
Written by Claudia Lepera Bloy
MSc Physiotherapy, Wits
BSc Physiotherapy, UCT