Some intensive care unit doctors are championing a breathing technique to help increase oxygen flow for those infected with the new coronavirus that involves putting the patient on their belly.
The new coronavirus causes a respiratory infection that can make it difficult for people who have COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, to breathe. This technique, which is a form of prone positioning, is aimed at helping people with symptoms increase the airflow to their lungs.
It was made popular by Dr. Sarfaraz Munshi at Queen’s Hospital in England, who posted a video of the technique on YouTube.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the video has been viewed over two million times, even receiving praise from J.K. Rowling, who tweeted that the method “helped a lot” while she was sick, possibly with the virus.
To perform Munshi’s technique, anybody with COVID-19 symptoms who may be experiencing trouble breathing should take six deep breaths in and hold their breath for five seconds before exhaling.
On the sixth deep breath, Munshi tells viewers to inhale, “do a big cough” and then repeat those steps one more time.
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After that, the U.K. doctor recommends patients lie flat on their bellies with a pillow in front of them, taking slightly deeper breaths for the next 10 minutes.
“When we’re looking at the lung injury and damage caused by COVID-19, what we’re seeing and what we know about it is that it is not equally distributed throughout the lung,” Carolyn McCoy, director of professional practice for the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists, told Global News.
“Different areas of the lungs are affected differently by COVID-19 and, ultimately, by something called acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is what COVID-19 can culminate in.”