I was reading an article by Patrick McKeown, author of The Oxygen Advantage, how breathing through your nose is your first line of defense against COVID-19. I already mentioned that the Wim Hof method can also help fight off COVID-19. McKeown’s line of reasoning is as follows:
- Your nose was designed to bring Oxygen into your lungs. We’ve recently learned that the process of inhalation through the nose Nitric Oxide (NO) is produced in the paranasal sinuses, which kills bacteria and viruses. NO plays a role in the dilation of the blood vessels in the lungs so oxygen can be readily absorbed from the air. Breathing through your mouth doesn’t afford the same benefits.
- Accordingly, when you’re in a public place, refrain from breathing deeply and through your mouth.
- Fun fact #1 from a 2005 review of nasal NO, health, and disease found that humming creates 7x more NO than normal exhalation. Weitzburg and Lundberg (2003) concluded “Single-breath humming causes a great and reproducible increase in nasal nitric oxide output in healthy subjects.”
- Fun Fact #2: wearing a mask may cause you to be exposed to more CO2 helping to reduce your sensitivity to CO2. This roughly translates into “lighter breathing and reduced breathlessness during rest , sleep, and physical exercise.”
Interestingly, taking deep breaths through your mouth only fills the upper portion of your lungs. Consequently, when you feel a shortness of breath, the best thing is to slow your breathing down and breathe “through your belly,” as it were. The reason is that most of your lungs are located in your lower-mid back region. The idea isn’t to distend your abdomen but to spread out the lower two ribs.
In his book the Oxygen Advantage, McKeown, has several exercises that help illustrate this type of breathing.
To read McKeown’s full in depth article and watch his video see: https://buteykoclinic.com/corona-virus/
McKeown also suggests getting a pulse oximeter to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. One of the symptoms of COVID-19 is a shortness of breath. What appears to happen is that COVID-19 interferes with the transfer of Oxygen in and CO2 out of the blood. Patients who die from COVID-19 essentially suffocate. An early warning is to use a pulse oximeter to detect when Oxygen in the blood drops below 95%. You can get a pulse oximeter through your local pharmacy or at Amazon.
- Maniscalco, M., Weitzberg, E., Sundberg, J., Sofia, M., and Lundberg, J.O. (2003) Assessment of nasal and sinus nitric oxide output using single-breath humming exhalations, European Respiratory Journal 22: 323-329