Physical activities reduce impact of COVID-19 on patients — Experts
By Chioma Obinna
Health experts have said that physical activities could reduce the impact of COVID-19 infection on patients, even as they warned of an increasing Lung COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.
The experts spoke to Good Health Weekly, shortly after the opening ceremony of the 5th scientific conference and Annual General Meeting of the Association of Clinical and Academic Physiotherapists of Nigeria, with the theme, “Physiotherapy in pandemic and beyond”.
They maintained that physical activities were required right from prevention, onset of the disease to the management of the disease at the chronic stages.
According to them, the debilitating lung COVID also known as Viral Post-COVID Syndrome which is gradually increasing in numbers in Nigeria, can be prevented with physical activities.
Speaking, the National President, ACAPN, Dr. Chris Okafor, noted that with adequate care and exercise, the rate of COVID-19 infection can be minimised by introduction of physical activities by physiotherapists.
“Physical activity helps to manage COVID 19. You can be isolated but you need physical activity even in isolation.
“During infection, physiotherapist helps to boost the lung capacity of the patients by introducing exercises that will make the patients physically active.
“When there is minimal function in the lungs, the patients will have other complications and when it happens, the patients may present with things like weakness, loss of muscle power, muscle tones etc.
“And only physical activities an reduce the impact and prevent patient from having lung COVID or get into lung collapse.”
Also, speaking, immediate past acting Vice Chancellor of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, CMUL, Prof Folashade Ogunsola, decried the debilitating impact of lung COVID.
She noted that the human body was designed to move, and when people do not use their muscles, such muscles grow smaller and weaker, hence, the need for physical activity.
Ogunshola said COVID-19 attacks, reduces the lung function and physiotherapists are needed to help patients to get rid of these risks when they recover.
She said COVID-19 has been a game-changer, disrupter of life that gives a glimpse into the future and has accelerated the world’s movement into digital technology.
“For the elderly people, in particular, I was concerned about the elderly, many of them were not moving around at all such that by the end of the year, many of them were extremely weak.
“In addition to that, some had started having dementia; physiotherapists are required for this era where there is a lot of atrophy.”
She explained that though there has been an increase in Lung COVID in Nigeria it was not a pandemic but a post-viral syndrome, adding that, “because it is a new disease, it is affecting people differently.”
She said they are seeing a lot of lung COVID even in young people but for some, it is debilitating while for some, it is not so bad and shorter than others.
“We don’t totally understand the disease or what predisposes us to have lung COVID. It works in progress to fully understand it and how to stop it.”
Speaking, the Chairman, Scientific Council, Dr Chidozie Mbada, said that COVID-19 was a catastrophe that brought the world to a near halt, adding that the delicate and vulnerable nature of the world became apparent during the pandemic.
Mbada who noted that COVID-19 brought in a lot of new and unfamiliar policies said the most significant, for them was the lockdown restrictions which led to economic and health consequences, among other things.
He said for their profession, there was a shift from skepticism to optimism on the adoption of telerehabilitation (digital therapy) in Nigeria.
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