Coronavirus Rehabilitation Program: How to Heal the Lungs

Normalization of temperature, improvement of the general condition and the image of the lungs without shadows show that the person has recovered. But that does not always mean that the disease has passed without consequences – by no means neglect rehabilitation and gradual recovery. Advice given by prof. Dr. Dmitry Garkavi, Head of the Rehabilitation Department of Moscow State Medical University

The severity of coronavirus disease depends not only on age but also on health status. If the patient is hypertensive, obese, has diabetes, kidney, blood, heart and blood vessel disease or has survived a heart attack or stroke – the prognosis is worse.

Systemic stroke of the whole organism

Although “passport” covid-19 refers to respiratory viruses, it affects not only the respiratory system but also the nerves, brain and internal organs. But mostly the parts of the vascular endothelium, hence the problems.

Because blood vessels penetrate throughout the body, coronavirus infection can cause a systemic inflammatory reaction. This is indicated by a high CRP – an analysis made of blood and is a marker of inflammation. This process was first called the cytokine storm, and now the bradykinin storm. However, one thing is certain – it is an excessive reaction of the immune system in response to inflammation.

Judging by the long-term consequences of covid infection – there is no data on it. Nowhere in the world is there a single opinion on how to treat this disease. For example, in the beginning, the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine was considered a drug, later in the scientific literature it appeared that it actually worsens the prognosis, and then again denied it. Over the past ten months, the clinical recommendations for covid-19 treatment have changed many times, but as time goes on, doctors are increasingly realizing what they face and what helps and what does not.

Go to the doctor, and that’s it!

There are many examples of self-medication, despite all the recommendations of doctors, and it can not bring good. For example, if all patients take dextamethasone, which has shown good results in severe forms of coronavirus, or anticoagulants that dilute the blood, there will be more harm than good. It’s the same with antibiotics, which people take on their own – and when they thicken, they won’t work.

Namely, antibiotics are given to patients not to treat the coronavirus, but to prevent a bacterial infection from reaching the weakened immunity (especially the nosocomial, which is very aggressive).

All drugs used in the case of covid-19 have contraindications. And only a doctor can know how to prevent negative consequences and at what stage of the disease to drink. Therefore, you must not give yourself therapy, in any case it must be prescribed by a doctor.

It is also naive to believe that taking vitamin D (or any other over-the-counter supplement) has the potential to work wonders. First of all, vitamin D should not be taken, but only those who have been deficient in it. Second, this substance needs to accumulate over a long period of time so that improvement does not come quickly. It boosts immunity, but it will not protect you from infection, it can only help you get over the milder symptoms.

Practice inhaling, never exhaling!

Complications of chronic diseases can occur after the coronavirus. In that case you should go to a specialist (cardiologist, neurologist, gastroenterologist).

But problems can also occur in healthy people who have contracted the virus, then special recovery activities are needed. Lung patients are more likely to suffer from coronavirus (pneumofibrosis occurs). In that case, shortness of breath occurs after each small effort and it can last for a long time. Such persons are in need of respiratory rehabilitation.

The main mistake people make after severe pneumonia is to strain on exhalation. For example, until they turn blue, they inflate a balloon or blow air through a trumpet, increasing the pressure in the respiratory system and lungs. The already damaged lungs suffer even more. On the other hand, you need to practice inhaling, not exhaling! There are cheap exercise machines that look like a child’s toy: when inhaling, you need to hold the balloon inside the device and push it up. With regular exercise, you can improve your lung capacity by 10%.

Not the sport you like, but the one that is useful

Another type of rehabilitation that is necessary for many people is movement. Due to the damage to the blood vessels, the muscles do not have oxygen and therefore weaken. And weak muscles do not pump blood well, which can lead to various diseases.

For general rehabilitation, general strengthening exercises are used. But before you start exercising in a rehab or fitness center, you need to do spirogerometry. Sensors and a special mask are attached to the man and he runs on a treadmill, while the equipment measures the composition of inhaled and exhaled air and simultaneously records a cardiogram.


People who have had covid-19 need psychological rehabilitation the most and most often. Especially anxious, vulnerable and irritable people. Patients who were seriously ill, those who were in hospital or survived on a respirator were naturally most affected by unpleasant psychological consequences.

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