Respiratory health care in the days of COVID-19 is key for us to get through this pandemic in the best way. Coronavirus is a virus that attacks the lungs and, therefore, we must protect these organs.
SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that is causing the current pandemic. Because it is a virus that mainly affects the lungs, respiratory health care in the days of COVID-19 has become the central theme of medicine.
We know that this virus enters the body through respiratory droplets that an infected person expels. Inside those drops, which are made as an aerosol, the coronavirus travels to lodge in the respiratory system of another host or to stay on some surface that we can touch and then become infected.
Once inside the respiratory system, SARS-CoV-2 travels to the alveoli of the lung, where it causes the most damage. There it causes inflammation and the symptoms that we know: fever, cough, decay, and shortness of breath.
Respiratory health in the days of COVID-19 is a pillar of prevention because not everyone suffers from infection in the same way. Some people have severe forms of lung disease that require them to be admitted to intensive care. If the support measures fail, they must be connected to artificial respirators.
Chronic respiratory patients such as asthmatics and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are among the risk groups for these severe variants. Tobacco users can also be included among the most vulnerable.
The respiratory health of COPD patients during COVID-19
COPD is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It includes pathologies such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and atelectasis. All of them have in common the bronchial obstruction to the air passage.
A patient with COPD is usually medicated with drugs that promote the bronchial opening. Sometimes they require these medications daily, and other times only in acute crises. The most serious cases need oxygen at home, to use most of the day or only at night.
As is a logical assumption, a patient of these characteristics is vulnerable in this pandemic. A SARS-CoV-2 infection can mean an exacerbation of your condition and a real risk of having to be hospitalized.
The respiratory health of COPD patients at the time of COVID-19 is now more important. If the coronavirus settles on previously injured lung tissue, it may cause more damage than expected.
To a possible need for hospitalization and breathing support, COPD patients are at many disadvantages. Your bronchi are reactive and allow less air to pass through, decreasing the availability of oxygen.
This risk group must be very careful about their habits. They should not abandon the medication without consulting their doctor, much less violate social distancing.
In the event of symptoms, the consultation must be immediate, through the means of communication established by the local government, avoiding attending a guard without first consulting with telemedicine.
The danger of tobacco during the pandemic
Tobacco is a very powerful toxic agent that has functions contrary to what we could stipulate as respiratory health. It can affect the cleaning mechanism that the cells of the mucosa of the respiratory system have, thus reducing natural defenses.
Previous experience with the H1N1 influenza pandemic allowed scientific studies to evaluate the effect of tobacco on smoking patients. There it was found that there is a strong association between smoking and the risk of suffering the flu.
Thus, for this coronavirus pandemic, we have to assume the same. Smokers should reduce consumption or take advantage to quit. Although confinement can be stressful and stimulate increased use, a person’s attitude will be key in resisting the temptation of smoking.
Diseases of the respiratory system other than coronavirus
Although it seems that COVID-19 disease is the only one in force at this time, we must remember that other pathologies, including respiratory diseases, continue to exist. People continue to have colds, sinusitis, acute bronchitis, and nasal allergies.
When in doubt, medical consultation is important to differentiate the symptoms. Self-medication is not recommended at this time either, much less with the drugs that we have left at home from other previous clinical pictures.
We will have to be vigilant for what happens once the confinement restrictions are lifted. When we begin to circulate again with relative normality, all the respiratory pictures will circulate with us.
We must incorporate good hygiene practices to make them a habit: wash your hands, cover yourself with the crease of your elbow when coughing, keep your distance if you have symptoms.
Respiratory health in times of COVID-19 needs commitment
It is repeated during this pandemic that care is everyone’s responsibility. The same applies to respiratory health in these times of COVID-19. Not only must the COPD patient be involved, but also the entire community, since vulnerable groups depend on others to avoid contagion.
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