Long COVID Self-Management - The Respiratory System
The respiratory system is made up of the body parts that help you breathe in (inspiration) and breathe out (expiration). When we breathe in, we bring oxygen (O2) into the lungs. When we breathe out, we let out carbon dioxide (CO2). Breathing is a combination of inspiration and expiration.
Parts of the Respiratory System
Mouth or Nose
You take air in through your mouth or nose. The nose is lined with little hairs called cilia, which filter out any dust or dirt particles. If you breathe through the mouth, less filtering occurs. This is the main reason why it is better to inhale through the nose when possible.
The trachea is a tube that serves as a passage for air. The trachea moistens and warms the air before going into the lungs. The trachea also has small hairs called cilia which protect the surface from accumulating dust or dirt particles.
Your lungs are spongy, air-filled organs located on each side of the chest. During breathing, oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide in the lungs.
The diaphragm is a thin, dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of your lungs. It separates the abdomen from the chest. The diaphragm is involved in 80% of breathing.
The muscles involved in breathing:
- Diaphragm: this is located below your lungs
- Intercostal muscles: these are located between your ribs
- Accessory muscles: these are located in the neck. These muscles can assist in lifting the chest when breathing in.