Breathlessness is a common symptom of Covid-19 is. Many people who have experienced shortness of breath due to Covid have described it as feeling “winded” or “puffed.”
This feeling doesn’t go away when the illness subsides but lingers on and is considered a natural part of recovery.
Some simple everyday activities can make you feel out of breath. These include:
- Doing household chores
- Walking around the house or to the bathroom
- Getting dressed
The best way to get back or improve your stamina is by practicing breathing in a controlled manner.
Breathlessness often induces anxiousness and makes you feel panicky. However, this further worsens the condition. So, if you feel breathless, consider doing one or a few of the following:
- Calm down and take deep breaths to recover
- Do not move or speak
- Try to distract yourself by looking out of the window or concentrating on a picture
It doesn’t matter how shallow your breath is; you can easily manage it through controlled breathing.
Recommended reading: List of Covid Vaccines available in India
Some Positions That Help to Control Breathlessness Post Covid-19
Controlling breathlessness takes time, patience, and effort. It is imperative that you stay calm and decide on a position that can help you breathe. Remember, your focus should be on relaxing your neck and shoulder muscles and drawing consistent breaths. Often, doctors and physiotherapists teach a few positions to patients to help them regain their breath.
Given below are a few positions that can help you with proper breathing.
1. Lean Forward While Sitting
Try to lean forward while you are sitting. Place your elbows either on the chair’s arms or on your knees. Stay calm and avoid movement.
2. Lean Forward At A Table
Bring out a table and a chair. Now sit leaning forward on the chair and keep your elbows on the table. If it gets uncomfortable, you can always put a few cushions or pillows on top of the table.
3. Lean Forward While Standing
You can also lean forward while standing. Use a chair, walking stick, a railing, or a wall for support, and rest your elbows on it. Take deep breaths and do not move around. Stay still in one position.
Recommended reading: Interesting Facts about Your Stomach
Ways To Control Breathing
Given below are a few techniques you can follow to control breathing.
1. Pursed Lip Breathing
The most popular breathing technique is tummy breathing. However, if you find it difficult, there are other options too. If you are anxious or breathless, try the pursed-lip breathing technique. In it, you breathe through your nose or pursed lips continuously till you get your breath under control.
This breathing method holds the air back in your lungs and makes taking the next breath easier.
2. Relaxed Tummy Breathing
This is the most popular breathing technique. Feeling breathless after activity can make you feel highly anxious or panicky. However, through this breathing method, you can calm down and take control of your breath with regular practice.
Although tummy breathing is highly effective, it can be difficult to master initially. Here’s a quick guide that’ll help you with it.
Learning Tummy Breathing
- Keep yourself in a comfortable and suitable position
- Support your back and head with a cushion or pillow.
- Avoid tightening your shoulder and upper chest; keep them relaxed.
- Place a hand on your stomach
- Draw in deep breaths and feel your stomach rise and fall as you breathe in and breathe out.
- Be gentle with your breaths. Your tummy shouldn’t move a lot except for the slight rise and fall.
Recommended reading: Drink Too Much Water?
Here’s a tip: It would help if you could focus on a shape, such as a rectangle, while practicing. This helps maintain focus.
Pranayama Breathing Techniques
The Breathlessness Scale
COVID-19 has an adverse impact on the respiratory system and often results in a lung injury. Recovery takes time, and there is something called the breathlessness scale that can monitor the recovery of your lungs.
It starts with 0 if your breathing is consistent and absolutely regular.
Between 2 and 4, you should start breathing exercises and continue them till your breathing improves. This is the moderate range, but if it goes up to 9 or 10, it’s a matter of concern since breathing becomes quite difficult.
This scale plays a vital role in helping recovering Covid patients monitor their needs and exercise pattern. It’s imperative that you take this test at regular intervals to help control breathlessness.
Recommended reading: 3 Yoga Asanas best for weight loss?
When To Seek Medical Assistance?
Breathlessness, although highly manageable, can sometimes get quite severe and needs immediate medical aid. So, either call 999 or 112 to get help if:
- You experience chest pain that spreads to the back of your body, the arms, jaw, or neck
- Tightness or heaviness in the chest
- You feel nauseous and sick
These all synonyms are a sign of heart attack or a problem with airway passage. It can also be a lung issue, so seeking emergency medical assistance is the best way to go.
Get in touch with your general physician or contact the best doctor nearby you if shortness of breath is accompanied by the following:
- worsening of the condition
- coughing for three weeks straight with no improvement
- swollen ankles
- uncontrolled breathing or breathlessness after an activity
- difficulty breathing while lying down
Recommended reading: Homeopathy for Covid 19
One Final Tip
If you have been feeling out of breath and are a regular smoker, then quit smoking. Although this is easier said than done, some programs assist chain smokers who are planning on leaving. These can be accessed either online or in person.