COVID-19 Damages to Lungs: How Can Corona Damage the Lung

Respiratory diseases can cause massive damage to our lungs, and COVID-19 is no exception.

As scientists continue to look deeply into a second wave of the pandemic, we’ve learned a lot and enhanced our understanding of the deadly virus.

And lately, many Netizens are desperate to understand COVID-19 damages to lungs during sickness and after recovery.

Panagis Galiatsatos, a Medical Doctor and a lung specialist at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, has a lot to say about COVID-19 patients.

After his encounter with several Coronavirus patients, he says many long and short-term lung complications could result from the disease.

What Could Cause COVID Lung Damage?

The ongoing pandemic is a respiratory disease caused by the new Coronavirus, and doctors say it can cause severe lung problems.

COVID-19 complications to the lungs may include; pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), Sepsis, among others.

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The new Coronavirus can cause long term damages to the lungs as well as other respiratory organs.

1. Coronavirus Pneumonia

Pneumonia victims suffer an inflammation of the lungs due to fluid accumulation and experience breathing difficulty.

Some pneumonia symptoms get so severe that and may require special treatment in a healthcare facility equipped with ventilators or oxygen supply.

The type of pneumonia caused by COVID-19 affects both of the patient’s lungs. The spaces in the air sacs fill with fluid preventing further intake of oxygen. This can cause cough, shortness of breath, among others.

We’ve seen several pneumonia recoveries with no chronic harm to the human lungs. But with COVID-19 related pneumonia, lung damages are likely to occur after recovery because a COVID patient takes time to heal from breathing complications.

2. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

What makes COVID-19 pneumonia so severe is that, as it progresses, more airspace form, causing a fluid leak from the body’s blood vessels into the patients’ lungs.

This causes shortness of breath, which may trigger ARDS— a form of lung failure.

People suffering from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome are not able to breathe without the support of a ventilator.

A ventilator assists in circulating the oxygen in the patient’s body. ARDS is fatal, and people may succumb to this condition irrespective of where it occurs, be it at the hospital or home.

Those who survive ARDS and recover entirely from the new Coronavirus will likely experience long term lung problems due to COVID-19 damages to lungs.

3. Sepsis

Sepsis is another severe illness associated with COVID-19.

The condition develops when the infection spreads into the entire bloodstream, resulting in tissue damage in the body parts it travels.

Galiatsatos says that the heart, lungs, and other body systems work together like instruments in the orchestra.

But when Sepsis occurs, the body organs’ coordination falls apart, leading to the system’s shutting down, after which heart and lung failure cases may be reported.

A more significant challenge to sepsis patients who recover is lasting damage to body organs like the lungs.

4. Superinfection

COVID-19 damages to the lungs can also occur due to superinfection.

According to Dr. Galiatsatos, after infection, a COVID-19 patient’s immune system works extra hard to fight the virus.

This fight against the invader to stop the deadly Coronavirus may render the body more vulnerable to other viruses and other bacteria.

And when the body is vulnerable, it exposes the lung to damage from other diseases.


What are the Risk Factors COVID-19 Lung Damage?

According to Galiatsatos, these are the three risk factors for COVID-19 damages to lungs:

1. Severity of the disease

Galiatsatos says patients with less severe cases are less likely to get lung damages or lasting scars than those with severe COVID-19 cases.

2. Pre-existing Conditions

According to Galiatsatos, related health issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart conditions can put you at a higher risk of having lung damages.

3. Age of the COVID Victim

The elderly are more vulnerable to Covid-19 than the younger generation.

This is because their lung tissues have become less elastic, and their immunities are too weak to fight against disease-causing agents.

4. The Promptness and Quality of Healthcare a Patient Receives

The quality of medical care a patient gets after infection will determine their recovery and lung damage.

Remember, timely support for coronavirus patients can help reduce the severity of lung damage. Patients who get quick medical intervention are at a lower risk of suffering COVID-19 damages to lungs.

How to Reduce Severe Lung damage in COVID patients

Infected persons can recover and regain lung functions. Below are some things coronavirus patients can do to minimize the chances of severe lung damage.

Galiatsatos reminds us to act swiftly to prevent development into a life-threatening health condition.

1. Managing your condition

This is a self-remedy for all patients with different chronic conditions like diabetes, heart conditions, and COPD. “After a COVID infection, it’s critical to be more watchful with pre-existing disease, as these could be risk factors to extreme lung damage,” he warns.

Monitor your health condition closely and taking your medications as per the doctor’s instructions.

2. Proper nutrition

Put extra focus on a balanced diet and take enough drinking water to avoid complications of Coronavirus. Hydration helps you keep a moist and healthy mucus membrane and retain adequate blood volumes in your body.

A healthy diet ensures better infection resistance and reduces COVID-19 damages to the lungs by minimizing tissue damage.

3. Saying no to cigarettes

Cigarette smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), like emphysema, bronchitis, and lung cancer.

Cigarette smoking makes your airways narrow, causing breathing difficulties. Smoking can cause chronic inflammation, which is a risk factor for bronchitis.

Prolonged cigarette smoking may leave scars in the lungs and trigger the growth of tumor tissues.

According to The American Lung Association, smokers have a second chance of living a healthy life after quitting.

4. Avoid exposing yourself to both indoor and outdoor air pollution

The pollutants in the air we breathe can be unhealthy to our lungs. Some of the indoor air pollutants that may harm your lungs include the use of air fresheners, body sprays, dander from pets, pollen, and dust from carpets.

On the other hand, outdoor pollution may result from smoke and chemical emitted by factories and exhaust pipes.

Failure to take appropriate measures to reduce pollution exposure can cause both short and long-term COVID-19 damages to lungs.

And the result may be lasting lung damages.

  5. Prevent other respiratory Infections

Contracting other respiratory diseases after Coronavirus infection can increase COVID lung damage.

Below are some of the ways to prevent yourself from infectious with diseases like the cold.

  • Washing your hands with running water and soap regularly or use hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid crowded places during outbreaks of flu and cold.

     6. Personal oral hygiene

Being clean can help prevent the development of infectious germs in your mouth.

Follow good oral hygiene tips like brushing your teeth at least twice a day and seeing your dentist after six months.

      7. Getting vaccinated

It’s vital to vaccinate against lung-related diseases even after a COVID infection. This can help prevent lung-threatening conditions like influenza and pneumonia.

    8. Regular medical Check-ups

Medical check-ups update you on your body’s status. Detecting and treating COVID early, for instance, is an excellent way to reduce lung damage in COVID patients. Be sure to share all your concerns with your physician as they monitor your health.

     9. Engage in Physical Exercise

People of all ages should be physically active to keep their lungs and other body organs healthy. This can help you maintain healthy lungs and reduce damage even after an infection.

Is Lung Damage in COVID Patients Reversible?

This is a frequently asked question among patients on lung treatment after coronavirus recovery.

After many reports of the severe cases of COVID lung damage, Galiatsatos believes it may time some time to recover from.

Lung recovery for coronavirus patients may take as long as a year or more after the diseases stop.

Remember, lung damage occurs in steps. For instance, there is an initial injury to the lungs, then scarring, and lastly, a lung failure may occur.

Medical expert Galiatsatos says a person’s lung can take more than a year to normalize or return to a pre-COVID-19 state.

And to achieve this, the patient should work closely with their doctors to ensure continuous proper care, treatment, and therapy.

COVID survivors must receive proper medical attention from their respiratory therapists, doctors, and other health care providers.

Continuous support and care can help a patient heal faster from any lasting lung damages.


The ongoing coronavirus disease can cause severe COVID-19 damages to lungs and other body tissues. We are, therefore, reminded to take all the necessary measures to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

Reducing the number of infections is an excellent way to save lives and money. It is also advisable to provide maximum care and support for both the infected and affected to stop other health conditions like the scarring of the lungs.