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Daily Archives: April 14, 2020

When you can’t cough ― extra COVID-19 precautions for people with physical disabilities

Published: April 14, 2020

Mayo Clinic – ROCHESTER, Minn. — People with conditions such as spinal cord injury, Lou Gehrig’s disease and multiple sclerosis are at risk of developing severe respiratory problems related to COVID-19 because the muscles that help them breathe already may not function normally.

“When you have a condition that causes paralysis, or weakens muscles in the chest, abdomen or diaphragm, you may not be able to remove lung secretions by coughing,” says Kristin Garlanger, D.O., a Mayo Clinic physiatrist. “You may have difficulty inhaling and filling the lungs with oxygen that is carried to the rest of the body.