The fact that coronavirus primarily disrupts the functioning of the lungs has been known since the first days of the pandemic. The most accurate picture of the condition of the lungs is given by CT, but it is not always possible and necessary to do an examination. How to check the lungs at home so as not to miss dangerous symptoms and at the same time not to give in to unnecessary panic?
How to check if everything is in order with the lungs
There are simple home tests that allow you to assess the condition of the lungs and notice any problems in the early stages.
Blow up a balloon
Lung volume is an important parameter that is responsible for the proper functioning of the organ. On average, the volume of lungs in a man is 3–3.5 liters, in a woman — 2.5–3 liters. Take an ordinary balloon. It must initially be inflated and deflated several times to make the material more elastic. Then fill your lungs with air — this can be done during the deepest possible breath — and inflate the balloon with one exhalation. The volume of the ball will clearly show what the volume of the lungs is. The diameter of the ball must be at least 15 centimeters. If less, then most likely the lungs are not working at full capacity. There could be a number of reasons for this, and it’s not just COVID-19.
Look at the fingers
Place your index fingers together. If the fingers look swollen and at the same time diverge, and the nails look like “watch glasses”, then this may indicate a serious problem with the lungs.
Hold the breath
Taiwanese doctors recommend checking yourself in this way every morning. Take a deep breath and hold your breath for more than 10 seconds. If you do not experience any discomfort while exhaling, then most likely there is no infection in the lungs.
How to recognize shortness of breath
Respiratory failure is determined only by saturation (oxygen content in the blood). But in the current conditions, we can wait a long time for a doctor to check saturation, and not everyone has pulse oximeters. But you can check if you have dangerous shortness of breath, and on your own.
Ask someone close to count the frequency of respiratory movements. One respiratory movement is inhalation + exhalation, the amount must be counted per minute, being in a calm state. A healthy person has an average of 14–17 movements. If more than 20 — this is a reason to be wary. Check yourself twice: if you do 20 movements or more each time in a minute, then this is shortness of breath.
Important! Do not rush to do a CT scan of the lungs at the slightest suspicion of a disease — the decision to conduct a CT scan can only be made by a doctor with an appropriate clinical picture.