Updated: Apr 25, 2021
If the oxygen level drops below 94, a patient in home isolation can lie on their belly as the position improves ventilation, keeps the alveolar units open.
Covid-19 patients who are being treated at home can practise proning if they are having breathing discomfort, the Union health ministry has said, releasing a detailed document explaining what proning is and how it helps in improving oxygenation. As the number of Covid-19 patients in the country is increasing rapidly, the hospitals are under stress. Doctors have advised self-monitoring of the oxygen level to understand whether there is a need for hospitalisation. In case, a patient feels discomfort in breathing, a symptom of the infection, they can lie face down, the guideline says.
What is proning?
Lying face down is known as proning which is a medically accepted position to improve comfort and oxygenation, the health ministry said. If the oxygen level drops below 94, a patient in home isolation can lie on their belly as the position improves ventilation, keeps the alveolar units open.
What do you need for proning?
About four to five pillows are needed for proning — one has to be placed below the neck, while one or two can be placed below the chest through upper thighs and two pillows can be placed below the shins.
One needs to change the lying position every 30 minutes from lying on the belly to lie on each side and then sitting up before going back to the first position of lying face down.
When not to do proning
The ministry has listed four conditions when proning should be avoided.
> Deep venous thrombosis (treated in less than 48 hours)
> Major cardiac conditions
> Unstable spine, femur or pelvic fractures.
Other checklists to keep in mind while self-proning
> It should not be done for an hour after meals.
> Proning should be done when it feels tolerable.
> One may prone for up to 16 hours a day, in multiple cycles.
> Keep track of any pressure or injuries during proning.