The COVD-19 outbreak has proven to be an unmitigated disaster because it blindsided the world over. Coronaviruses have long been on the radar of epidemiologists, as several coronaviruses have been known to cause respiratory infections, ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-19, however, is a new virus and disease that was previously unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
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The uncomfortable reality is that health experts and governments are learning how to respond to the virus through its devastating impact on populations.
The emerging data is providing hope, however, with more and more studies identifying ways to mitigate the harm posed by the virus.
A new study adds to the existing body of optimist literature.
The research, conducted by researchers from Zhongda Hospital, makes the case for sleeping on your front if you are experiencing mild symptoms.
Why? The researchers suggest the sleeping position may be better for the lungs.
To arrive at this conclusion, researchers analysed 12 coronavirus patients on ventilators.
Professor Haibo Qiu, who led the study, said: “This study is the first description of the behaviour of the lungs in patients with severe COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation and receiving positive pressure.
“It indicates that some patients do not respond well to high positive pressure and respond better to prone positioning in bed (facing downward).
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Qiu added: “While the study only assessed 12 patients, the researchers hope the findings will encourage people showing symptoms to re-think their body positioning in bed.”
Professor Chun Pan, co-author of the study, echoed this advice, suggesting that the sleeping position could aid breathing.
In their concluding remarks, the researchers said: “It is only a small number of patients, but our study shows that many patients did not re-open their lungs under high positive pressure and may be exposed to more harm than benefit in trying to increase the pressure.
“By contrast, the lung improves when the patient is in the prone position.
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“Considering this can be done, it is important for the management of patients with severe COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation.”
What are the main symptoms associated with the coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough.
“Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea,” explains WHO.
How do these symptoms progress?
“These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell,” says the health body.
According to the NHS, official government advice says to not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.
This social distancing measure, called self-isolation, is designed to suppress the spread the virus to other people.
If you are self-isolating, the NHS says you must:
- Not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least two metres (three steps) away from other people
- Not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
- Not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
How long should I self-isolate for?
“If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for seven days,” advises the health body.
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