Proning is a face-down position that improves ventilation to the lungs and has helped to improve the survival rate in ventilated patients.
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One of the symptoms of Covid-19 is difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
If you find yourself in this predicament awaiting hospitalisation, or if you are quarantining at home and have encountered some trouble breathing, Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur (PHKL) recently shared a simple technique that may help Covid-19 patients improve oxygen levels in the body.
What is proning?
Proning is a simple technique where you lie face down on your stomach, to try and improve the oxygen levels in your body.
It improves ventilation to the lungs and keeps the alveoli units open which makes it easier to breathe.
This technique may help Covid-19 patients whose condition is not severe enough to require ventilation, but may still need oxygenation.
Proning is only needed when the patient has difficulty breathing and if oxygen levels drop below 94.
How to prone
According to PHKL’s post, follow these steps:
- Lie face down with a pillow under your neck.
- Put one or two pillows under your chest and upper thighs.
- Put two pillows under your shins
- Switch positions every 30 minutes to two hours by turning to your right side, then sit up and gradually lay on your left side before returning back to your belly-down position.
Proning can be done up to 16 hours a day, adjusting pillows for comfort.
Do’s and Don’ts to proning
- Do keep track of any pressure sores or injuring
- Do prone in a well-ventilated room
- Don’t prone directly after meals
The following instances are when proning should be avoided, like during pregnancy or if you have or suffer from:
- Spinal instability or fractures
- Spine, femur or pelvic fractures
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Major cardiac conditions
Proning can assist patients with or without a ventilator
According to Healthline, since the Covid-19 pandemic began, doctors have been using this position to help patients with severe Covid-19.
Proning can sometimes help patients avoid the need for a ventilator. But if they are already on a ventilator, careful use of the prone position has also been shown to improve the survival rate for those patients.
Not just Covid, but also Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
The prone position is also used for ARDS caused by any condition such as pneumonia, pancreatitis, and sepsis.
ARDS can also be caused by serious accidents and injuries such as breathing in harmful substances, drowning, and severe injuries to your head, chest or other body parts.
Always monitor symptoms
Although proning is a good way to manage respiratory problems, PHKL reminds us all to always monitor our symptoms and oxygen levels.
If you are managing Covid-19 symptoms at home, always consult with a doctor if your blood oxygen level drops below 95%.
Former advertising mad woman - turned mother to an amazing little girl born 3 months early - and now a returned writer. Also a textbook ambivert with no clue about today's pop music but a walking encyclopedia of music from the 80s and 90s.