Following Monday's announcement by BoJo and the inevitable closure of my business I, like so many others are trying to stay entertained during self isolation.
Honestly, it hasn't been so bad so far but I'm only 2 days into it! Thankfully I am lucky enough to have a garden, the weather has been glorious and I can for the moment find plenty of little jobs to keep me busy.
As promised my application to join the local NHS hospital was sent on Monday but so far I haven't heard back. They might be a little busy, don't you think?! To try and get my head back into the game I have cracked open my old books . Time to refresh those Respiratory Physiotherapy skills. They haven't been totally forgotten, I have to use the basics quite often in my Community Rehabilitation role but its the really serious stuff I'm trying to remember.
I thought it might be interesting, for those who don't know, what kind of stuff I might need to know when faced with COVID-19 patients.
It has been well broadcast by the NHS, Government and every media platform that COVID-19 gives you a cough and a temperature. Not much for me to worry about there, if you can still cough, keep coughing, if you have a temperature take medication etc (advised by the doctors) to get it down. For the majority that will be Paracetamol, hence why it is being panic bought throughout the country.
Its the people 4-6 days into a more severe case of COVID-19 that we need to worry about because they have Pneumonia. Pneumonia is a dangerous chest infection. The area of infected lung cannot work properly, the alveoli (where gas exchange happens) are filled up with sputum so oxygen cannot get into the lungs and carbon-dioxide can't get out. If this continues for too long your body can't get enough oxygen to the major organs and that's why you get really poorly ... organ damage or sepsis (full body infection) with septic shock leading to death if unresolved. Two outcomes that Doctors need to fix with medical intervention.
The role of a Physiotherapist is to help get rid of the build up of sputum in the lungs. Ideally this is by encouraging a patient to cough and spit out the sputum. Sorry if you're a bit squeamish, you may want to stop reading now.
Physiotherapists can use lots of different techniques to make you cough or move the sputum out of the lungs. The first as I said is encouraging you to keep coughing. A cough is the body's own mechanism of moving sputum up out of the airways. Physiotherapists are trained to use special pieces of equipment that help create a cough, force more air into the lungs to try to open up the airways around the sputum build up to then make it move, and/or can perform suction. They can use suction catheters to help pull/ suck the sputum up and out of the way. Generally not very pleasant for the patient, the catheter will go into the lungs either through their throat or nose. Alongside these special bits of equipment we use manual techniques on peoples chests- vibrations are the most common.
The whole point is the sticky infectious sputum stuck in the bottom of the lungs needs to get out of the lungs. If that doesn't happen the poor individual literally drowns in their own sputum.
Sorry to end on a very morbid note. But its helpful to teach something you are trying to learn (again).
Stay safe, stay indoors and enjoy your hour of exercise outdoors everyone.
Keeping you updated with what my thoughts are, infection control measures etc