This Breathing Technique Could Prevent Pneumonia In Coronavirus Patients, Says Dr. Sarfaraz Munshi

Photo of a stethoscope
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Dr. Sarfaraz Munshi, a Queens Hospital doctor who leads the urgent care team at the Queen’s Hospital in London, recently shared a breathing technique that could help prevent pneumonia in coronavirus patients, and ease active infections. The video, shared by Upworthy, shows Munshi demonstrating the method and explaining each step, and why it is beneficial.

While Munshi is the one demonstrating the technique, he says that it was recommended by colleague Sue Elliott, who is the director of nursing at the hospital. She is also present in the video.

According to Munshi, if you have an active infection, it becomes imperative to get air into your lungs. He says that people who are nervous about getting the virus can also do the breathing technique before experiencing any symptoms.

Munshi notes that the only way to get oxygen into the lungs is through a proper breathing technique. It is an essential step in preventing lung deterioration. Most severe cases of the coronavirus are related to how the virus ravages the respiratory system.

He then walks through each step of the breathing technique.

First, he recommends taking five deep breaths, and “each time you will hold the breath for five seconds.” On the sixth breath, “you will do a big cough” — this will help to open up the lower airways and cough anything up that may be residing there. Munshi says to repeat this cycle twice.

After the deep breathing, the doctor says to “lay flat on your front with a pillow in front of you” and take slightly deeper than normal breaths for ten minutes. Munshi then shows how to do the breathing exercise.

To finish the video, Munshi asks people to remember the “most important thing,” which is that those who are infected should avoid laying on their back for prolonged periods as it closes off small airways and may increase the risk of getting secondary pneumonia.

He then requests that anyone trying the technique spreads the message to their friends and family members.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling praised Munshi’s advice on Twitter. She said that she followed the doctor’s recommendation for the last two weeks after experiencing all symptoms of the coronavirus.

According to her, the breathing technique helped her get through the virus, and she has now completely recovered. She says that she followed the method on the advice of her husband, who is also a doctor. However, Rowling did not get officially tested for COVID-19.

“Thank you for your kind and lovely messages! I really am completely recovered and wanted to share a technique that’s recommended by doctors, costs nothing, has no nasty side effects but could help you/your loved ones a lot, as it did me,” Rowling said in a follow-up tweet.