Proning position is now being actively recommended to COVID+ patients under home isolation and fluctuating SPo2 levels to boost their oxygen levels. It has also helped many successfully battle respiratory issues and breathe better. Most recently, an 82-year-old woman from Gorakhpur, UP, managed to not only beat COVID but also improved her oxygen readings from 75 (considered extremely low and dangerous) to 94 by sleeping in a prone position!
But what exactly is the prone position? Why is it considered such a good measure to improve oxygen readings?
If you have been battling an oxygen fluctuation and tested positive for it, should you try it?
What does self-proning or prone positioning mean?
Oxygen readings less than 94% are considered to be worrisome and patients with destabilized blood oxygen readings, suffering from coronavirus infection may require external oxygen support and therapy to restore vital readings. Sleeping in prone positioning can also be a good way to stabilize and improve oxygen readings.
It is also considered to be a medically approved self-therapy to boost oxygenation. A lot of experts and the Health Ministry, too now recommends people under home isolation care for COVID+ to make it a habit and self-prone so as to manage oxygen readings and alleviate problems.
Self-proning, or pronal breathing, according to experts, is extremely helpful for COVID patients battling breathing difficulties, discomfort and shortness of breath since it helps to maintain and promote ideal blood oxygen and saturation levels in the body. It can be done thrice in a day and works to garner instant relief to patients suffering from any oxygenation problem, or finding it hard to scour oxygen supplies. If studies and researches are to go by, doing self-proning for over 30 minutes can boost oxygen readings from 88 to 94 and above!
As per doctors, patients suffering from any sort of respiratory distress or compromised breathing issues should be turned swiftly and made to sleep on their abdomen, and not on their back, in a way that the patient lies face down.
While self-proning for home isolation has been in the news for a while now, as a medical therapy, it has been practised for years now.
Some also suggest that proning, under home settings can help lessen the severity of the disease, since it improves ventilation and lung function. It may even help improve outcomes for those who may require hospitalization and intensive care later.
Who requires proning? When should you do it?
Not all patients who test positive for coronavirus and put under home care need the help of proning. However, the ones who may be facing oxygen deprivation, or waiting for medical help, simply lying down on your stomach could be a great help.
Proning should be especially tried when oxygen levels start to drop below 94 and continue to fluctuate through the day if external support is hard to find.
To sleep in the prone position, one needs to have plenty of pillows and keep changing positions on a half-hourly basis.
A step-by-step guide to do pronal breathing
The first thing you require for pronal breathing and sleeping is pillows, which would need to be placed in a manner like this- one below the neck, two below the chest and two pillows placed below the shins.
The guidelines for pronal breathing were also listed out by the Health Ministry recently. Here’s how to attempt self-proning and get relief from sudden oxygen deprivation:
-Start with lying on your belly
-Lying on your right side
-Sitting up with your legs extended in front of you
-Lying on the left side
-Go back to lying on your belly
Make sure while you keep alternating your positions, but do not spend more than 30 minutes in one position. The pillows can also be adjusted to suit pressure and comfort, according to your needs.
A word of caution
Self-proning is a good way to boost oxygen levels at critical times when securing medical help may not be possible or manage symptoms at home. However, remember, it is only one of the ways that guarantee temporary relief and not a proper alternative for hospitalized care or oxygen support.
Pregnant women, those suffering from obesity, thrombosis, unstable spine or cardiac complications should not attempt to self-prone without seeking proper medical advice.
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