As hospitals across the country are reeling under a severe shortage of medical grade oxygen for Covid patients caught in the deadly sweep of the second wave of infections, the central government released a set of instructions that it says will “aid to help you breathe better” during COVID-19.
Proning is a medically accepted position to improve breathing comfort and oxygenation. Covid patients with compromised breathing comfort in home isolation will find it extremely beneficial, says the government.
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) April 22, 2021
Explaining the process, it said it is a way of turning a patient with precise, safe motions, from their back onto abdomen (stomach), so the individual is lying face down. Prone positioning improves ventilation, and makes breathing easy by keeping alveolar units open, the instructions said. It is required only when the oxygen level falls below 94 per cent. Regular monitoring of oxygen levels, along with other signs like temperature, blood sugar is important during home isolation, it added.
Timely proning and maintaining ventilation could save many lives, it added.
It also listed a series of steps to perform the exercise at home: place one pillow below the neck; one or two pillow below the chest through upper thighs and two pillows below the shins.
Those with a heart condition, pregnant, or with unstable spine or pelvic fractures, it said, should avoid it. It is also not to be performed after meals.
It further mentions a five-step method on placing a patient in the prone position using a regular beds, flat sheet and family members.
This afternoon, PM Narendra Modi, chairing a high-level meeting to review the acute shortage of oxygen supply faced by hospitals, stressed on raising production of oxygen, increasing the speed of distribution and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities. The PM directed the officials to ensure that oxygen supply to various states happen in a smooth, unhindered manner.
India today saw a record Covid spike with 3.14 lakh infections in a day and 2,104 deaths. This is the fastest rise in cases and deaths any country has suffered till now.