How has COVID affected lungs?
Depending on a person’s immune system, age, and morbidities, COVID-19 affects severely by spreading the disease across the human body. However, since COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, it can induce long-lasting damage to the lungs causing complications like shock, multi-organ system failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or Sepsis.
As has been seen, the spectrum of the disease can be mild such as cough, sore throat, elevated temperature of the body, and as the disease surges up, ultimately the virus causes difficulty in breathing and pneumonia, which can be critical, resulting in respiratory failure.
Here’s how COVID affects the lungs resulting in mild to severe cases:
Effects of Covid spreading through lungs
The mild or severe condition of the respiratory disease depends on the severity of the coronavirus infection. The upper and lower respiratory tract is the first sight to come in contact with the virus, which results in irritation and inflammation of the inner lining. As the virus spreads, our immune system tries to fight back, causing high fever, sore throat, dry cough, and breathing difficulties.
Hence, depending upon the severity of the spread, there are multiple levels of lung infections:
Almost 80% of COVID-affected people exhibit mild symptoms of lung infection pneumonia, in which alveoli are swollen. At this stage, patients mainly experience a dry cough, high-grade fever, or a sore throat.
As the severity of COVID infection increases, both the lungs are affected, with swelling of the inner walls of the organ getting worse. About 14% of COVID-19 cases are at moderate stages of lung infection eventually, leading to more fatal cases.
About 5% of COVID cases are critical, where the infection is so severe that it can damage the walls and linings of the air sacs in your lungs. As the body tries to fight the virus, the lungs become more infected and filled with fluid. As a result, making it harder for the lungs to swap oxygen and carbon dioxide.
In fatal cases, one can have severe pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to which the lungs need ventilator support in order to fulfill the oxygen demand.
Prevention is the cure
For a Covid affected person, it’s important to maintain an adequate intake of nutrition and staying hydrated appropriately. If a patient develops severe lung inflammation like ARDS or even more severe, Lung fibrosis, the damage to the lung can be assessed with the help of a CT scan & Pulmonary Function Test with Diffusion study. Consequently, substantial treatment is required including oxygen therapies, mechanical ventilation, and in some cases Lung transplant.
At Sanjivini we have a State-of-the-art Critical Care Unit equipped with 16 beds with advanced life support systems and most advanced patient devices including an ETCO2 monitoring device to enhance patient safety. The critical care team provides day-and-night emergency services to all the patients including Post-Covid patients and is supported by specially trained and efficient staff. The department also regularly follows the protocols for the prevention of hospital-acquired infections as laid down by the Hospital Infection Control Committee, maintaining a very safe environment for the patient.