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Breathing Problems due to Coronavirus: What to know || Practo

Practo

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Published on Jun 30, 2020
Covid-19 is primarily a disease of the lungs, and shortness of breath is one of its serious symptoms. Dr Rajesh Bhardwaj, a senior ENT specialist, explains why a coronavirus infection can cause cough and breathing problems, why it causes a patient’s oxygen level to fall, why some patients do not face breathing difficulties, and when and how to check oxygen levels (SPO2) using a Pulse Oximeter.

Video Breakdown:

0:19 - Why does Covid-19 present with a cough and breathing issues?
0:43 - What is silent hypoxia?
1:13 - Why is it important to check oxygen levels?

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Video Transcript:
This is a dangerous phenomenon because the patients go into very low levels of oxygenation
without having the so-called distressing symptoms of hypoxia.

The Coronavirus, as we have understood over a period of time, is primarily a disease of the lungs.
It affects other organs from the nose, to the throat and the sinuses to the intestine and various other organs of the body including the kidney and heart, but it lodges mainly in the lungs and that is why it causes a cough as well as breathlessness.

The strange thing about the Coronavirus infection is the it causes a condition called ‘happy hypoxia’
or silent hypoxia.This is a condition in which though the patient’s oxygen levels continue to fall, the patient does not feel breathless or feel any discomfort.This is a dangerous phenomenon because the patients go into very low levels of oxygenation without having the so-called distressing symptoms of hypoxia.

On the 5th to 7th day, a patient of COVID-19 will start getting worse, his symptoms will start
deteriorating and it is possible his oxygen levels will start falling.The simple method for us to do at this moment is to use a pulse oximeter. This is a simple device that you can attach to the nail of a patient and within a few seconds, it tells you about the oxygen level of the patient.

Anything above 90% is fine.In COVID-19 patients sometimes we find the person has an oxygen level of 60%, still feels comfortable but is in urgent need of oxygen. So that is why, for a COVID-19 patient, checking their pulse oxygen levels, or SPO2, is important.Particularly after about a week of the infection when the patient is likely to deteriorate.This will make sure that we start early oxygen and prevent deterioration of the disease.
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