Lung Infections: A new study has found that people might develop a chronic lung disease after a viral respiratory illness like Covid-19. Here’s everything you need to know.

Tens of millions of people suffer from lung diseases every year across the world. Some of the contributing factors that cause lung diseases like smoking, genes and infections. Short-term infections like Covid-19 can cause lung complications such as pneumonia. Like many other respiratory illnesses, the coronavirus can cause long-lasting damage to the lungs. In pneumonia, the lungs become inflamed and filled with fluid, causing breathing problems. Breathing problems in certain patients might become so serious that they require hospital care with oxygen or possibly a machine.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, people might develop a chronic lung disease after a viral respiratory illness.

Lung Infections Can Lead To Chronic Lung Damage

Researchers discovered that during and after a viral respiratory infection, two populations of stem cells in the lung grow, sometimes activating a harmful remodelling process that can cause persistent lung illness long after the virus has been eradicated.

Also read: Why do short-lived lung infections lead to long-lasting lung damage?

For the study, the researchers compared lung tissues from infected mice to lung tissues from uninfected mice 12 and 21 days following infection with the Sendai virus. In uninfected mice, they discovered that two groups of stem cells assist maintain the lung-to-environment barrier. However, after being infected with the Sendai virus, these two populations continue to reproduce and spread in their ways. AT2 cells are limited to air sacs, while basal cells take over small airways and air sacs. Some of the newly formed basal cells produce mucus, while others secrete molecules that attract immune cells to the lungs. Overall, the process leaves the lungs with reduced air space, increased mucus, and persistent inflammation, all of which make breathing difficult.

Research May Pave A Way For An Effective Treatment

The researchers genetically engineered mice to lack IL-33 in the basal population of lung stem cells to investigate the role of IL-33 in post-viral lung injury. The scientists then infected those mice, as well as a control group of mice, with the Sendai virus. The two groups of mice were equally successful in fighting off an initial infection with the Sendai virus. The lungs of mice lacking IL-33, on the other hand, showed reduced cellular overgrowth, mucus, and inflammation three weeks after infection, indicating that they had fewer symptoms of detrimental lung conditions.

Also read: Lung cancer symptoms: Five of the most common signs of lung cancer

Researchers believe that targeting steps on the pathway between IL-33 and basal cell activation could pave the way for broadly effective medicines to prevent or treat lung disease caused by a range of viruses, as well as other types of harm in the lungs and other places where the body encounters the outside world. Lung Infections

How Can You Reduce The Chance Of Lung Damage?

If you are suffering from chronic medical conditions, you must ensure that you are medically optimized. It is critical for everyone to maintain enough nutrition, eat well, and remain hydrated. Make sure you’re up to date on your immunizations, and if you’re in the right age range, get a flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine.

Do check with your doctor to ensure that you do not suffer from any further complications. Timely intervention is your best bet to control adverse outcomes.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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