How to Stay Healthy While Using a Ventilator?

For quadriplegics with C1 and C2 level injuries, it is common to use a ventilator. Full lives can be lived in spite of this. Is important however to maintain a good immune system to stay as healthy as possible when living with a ventilator. Your body is compromised due to the ventilator, making it more important than ever to stay on top of your health; especially in the age of the Coronavirus. Here are some ways to keep yourself healthy throughout the years as you use a ventilator. 

Eat Healthily

Healthy foods on a plate for COVID 19

Like anyone who is alive, it is critical to eat healthily. Getting the proper vitamins and minerals each day will keep your body strong and ready to fight any bacteria or viruses you may encounter. Taking a multivitamin each day is key. Make sure you take it with a meal every day and make sure you do not take too much calcium, as it can cause bladder stones. People with spinal cord injuries have reported a more difficult time absorbing vitamins. Sometimes chewable vitamins are more easily absorbed by the body.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

One of the most important vitamins people with high-level quadriplegia should make sure they get enough of this Vitamin D. Vitamin D has been known to help people with spinal cord injuries in many important ways, notably skin and bone health. It can also help with depression. Vitamin D is plentiful whenever you're out in the sun. If you can expose your skin to any kind of sunlight at least 5 minutes a day, you are on your way to having great vitamin D levels. You can also take a Vitamin D supplement each day or you get it in your food. 

Avoid Second Hand Smoke


Maintaining your respiratory health is critical when you use a ventilator. One of the most important things you can do is avoid being around any kind of secondhand smoke whatsoever. While this is common knowledge for most, it is worth repeating since it can be detrimental to people who use ventilators. Always make sure the air in your environment is as clean as possible.

Get a Pneumonia Vaccine

Medicine doctor hand working with modern computer interface as concept

The flu can be very dangerous to people who use ventilators, but getting pneumonia can be deadly. Because this condition can be so dangerous to people with ventilators, it is critical to get a pneumonia vaccine. You can get one from your family doctor. While the pneumonia vaccine does not protect you from every strain of pneumonia, it does a great job of preventing you from getting sick.

Use a Breathing Machine

voldytne spirometer

Using a Voldyne spirometer on a regular basis can help strengthen the muscles you use to breathe if you have any ability to move these muscles. For some, they need to use a ventilator but they still have some diaphragm control. A spirometer can help you take deep breaths more easily by strengthening the muscles you use to breathe.

Workout Regularly


Many people with high-level spinal cord injuries utilize FES to work out, as well as use a standing frame. Many will also do passive movement in their upper body. However you move, it is important to do so on a regular basis, even if you are a high-level quadriplegic. Working out keeps your body healthy no matter your level of injury.

People who use ventilators can live long healthy lives, and it is possible for you as well. As long as you stay on top of your health, you can live happily and healthy for many decades to come.

Topics: Spinal Cord Injury, Paralysis, Quadriplegia, Quadriplegic, Ventilation

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