The World Physical Therapy day comes at a time when the world is grappling with the damaging effects of COVID-19. In line with the 2020 theme, this article will detail how to relieve chest related symptoms in COVID-19 at home.

Relieve Chest Related Symptoms In COVID-19 At Home

The chest-related symptoms in the early stage of COVID-19 are as follows:

  • Difficulty in breathing/breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Dry cough
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Chest congestion/Excess sputum production
  • Sneezing
  • Rhinorrhea/nasal mucus discharge

The most life-threatening symptoms are shortness of breath and chest congestion. Knowing the necessary measures to take when COVID-19 symptoms worsen while away from a medical facility can be a lifesaver.

These measures include:

  • Deep Breathing exercises
  • Self-drainage of excess cough secretions
  • Postural drainage education
    iv. Self-monitoring on the worsening of symptoms and actions to take

Deep Breathing Exercise In Covid-19 Patients

The COVID-19 virus affects the lung tissues reducing their ability to provide oxygen to the body. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain good air exchange in the lungs. The goal is to avoid fluid accumulation which later can lead to respiratory failure.

Deep breathing is an active breathing technique performed by the patient. It can be used to mobilize and clear excess pulmonary secretions and improve lung function.

NOTE: Perform the breathing exercise for 20 to 30 repetitions/cycles at intervals of 1 hour or as can be tolerated.

This technique is used to achieve the following:

  • Loosen and clear secretions from the lungs.
  • Improve air exchange in the lungs.
  • Improve the effectiveness of a cough

Steps In Deep Breathing Exercise

  1. Breathing Control: The breathing should be done in a relaxed position, either sited or standing as tolerated.
  2. Deep Breathing In Or Thoracic Expansion: Take 3-5 deep Breaths continuously until your lung is full. Maximum chest expansion should be evident by observing the rib cage movement.
  3. Forced Breathing Out Technique: Through the mouth, breath out continuously until you clear all air out of the lungs). Ensure that every cycle of breathing out is followed by deep breathing cycle.
  4. Coughing: After 5-10 repetitions of breathing, try to cough out secretions if any while breathing out. Ensure you cough with your mouth covered with a cloth or tissue. Dispose of sputum in an enclosed bin.

Chest Self-Drainage

This is the process of getting rid of excess cough/secretion out of the lungs without any assistance. It is highly encouraged for every COVID-19 patient to ensure the chest remains clear from any cough.

How to perform a Safe Self-Drainage Of Excess Cough Secretions

This is another critical area to treat COVID-19 at home. The procedure entails postural drainage, which involves draining of secretions by the effect of gravity from one or more lung segments to the central airways for easier expectoration or coughing out.

postural drainage techniques physiotherapy
Each position should generally be held for a minimum of 30 minutes to a maximum period as can be tolerated.

NB; Other positioning techniques such as high supported sitting, may help to optimize oxygenation, ease breathlessness and reduce energy expenditure.

Lying in a prone position (on the belly) has proved to be very useful in the clearance of the lower posterior segments of the lung tissue where most secretions accumulate.


i. XCell orthopaedics Physical Therapy © 2020
ii. Physiopedia

From: Rehabilitation Department

Switch Language »