Two years’ on, Covid-19 continues to ravage the population, with more and more people suffering from ongoing symptoms long after they have recovered from the initial disease, known as “Long COVID”. In this blog we will detail what Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is and how exactly is helps combat Long COVID.
What is Long COVID?
This colloquially used term refers to the symptoms of COVID-19 which last for several weeks, months, or even years after the initial illness has been contracted. As a minimum, Long COVID is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “usually 3 months from the onset of Covid-19 with symptoms that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 vary from very mild flu-like symptoms, such as a cough or mild fever, to far more serious health issues. These more severe symptoms include:
• Extreme tiredness and fatigue
• Memory or concentration issues
• Chest or lung pains
• Depression or anxiety
• Shortness of breath
• Croup-like dry cough
Long COVID is most prevalent in older people, or those with previous underlying health issues, and typically results in ICU admission. However, it is becoming increasingly more common a problem even in younger, healthy people with no previous issues. Some of the most common long-term symptoms include:
• Joint or Chest Pain
• Lingering Cough
• Loss of Smell or Taste
“COVID-19 symptoms can sometimes persist for months. The virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health problems.”Mayo Clinic
What Is HBOT?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a specialized oxygen treatment that enhances the body’s natural healing process. The primary function of HBOT is to increase the concentration of oxygen in the bloodstream, this increased concentration can help the body cope with the effects of ageing, stress, and other conditions that can leave us feeling less than 100%. HBOT creates and environment where hyperoxygenation of the body can occur.
In simple terms, Hyberbaric Therapy is a chamber in which you lie in and relax, while you breathe air or varying amounts of oxygen while inside a pressurized chamber. Under pressure, oxygen can be dissolved into all of the body’s fluids, the plasma, the lymphatic system, the central nervous system fluids, and the bone structure. This allows us to dissolve, transport and deliver many more times the normal oxygen to our tissues and cells creating a systemic healing effect within the body.
This hyperoxygenation effect allows oxygen to be carried to areas where circulation is diminished hypoxic or blocked. Now that extra oxygen can reach the damaged tissues the body starts its own natural healing process now that the all the building blocks have arrived.
Zing True Health Clinic is the only Irish Clinic which utilises Oxynova Hyperbaric Chambers – smaller, portable and far more cost effective than large hospital chambers, while offering all the same benefits.
How HBOT Helps Long COVID
The increased concentration and faster absorption of oxygen using a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber helps to speed up the body’s natural healing process. Inside a HBOT chamber, the body can absorb pure Oxygen through its cells, rather than the mere 21% oxygen taken through the lungs during normal breathing. With repeated scheduled treatments, the temporary extra high oxygen levels encourage normal tissue oxygen levels, even after the therapy is completed.
These increased Oxygen levels in the body’s tissue encourages faster healing, thus warding off the effects of Long COVID.
Example 1 – https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-58724980
Leanne Lawrence, 39, from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, caught COVID-19 in January 2022. After several weeks of symptoms such as “the worst stomach pain”, 4 days in hospital, and a further 35 days of being bedridden, Leanne was told to try Hyperbaric Therapy.
“My life changed within 2 weeks”, Leanne said of her treatment. “I can stay up all day, I don’t have the heart palpitations, the pins and needles have stopped, I have no chronic fatigue”.
Example 2 – https://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/2022/0211/1279205-oxygen-chamber-aids-referee-owens-long-covid-recovery/
All-Ireland Club Senior Referee, James Owens, contracted COVID-19 in August 2021 and, though initially seeming to recover fully, began to suffer the physical effects of Long COVID, including fatigue and shortness of breath. The ongoing issues stopped him from being able to run, much less referee a full game.
“When long Covid struck, I simply wasn’t able to run. My lungs weren’t able to generate the required air capacity”, said Owens. After just 5 HBOT treatments he was able to referee the All-Ireland Club Final between Ballyhale Shamrocks and Ballygunner.