Among the several symptoms of COVID-19, many patients will experience low oxygen blood levels. It’s reported to be an early sign of worsening COVID, however, some patients may not even be aware that they are infected as they may not feel the effects of the symptoms. It's a condition called "silent hypoxia". Technically called hypoxaemia, this happens when a patient has low blood oxygen, which can be detected using a pulse oximeter.
Many health monitoring tools have become in demand during the pandemic, especially pulse oximeters. What used to be a device used in hospitals and clinics has become more accessible to the general population. With the advancement in technology, some of these devices are compatible with mobile phones allowing you to view your results conveniently from your mobile.
What is a Pulse Oximeter?
A pulse oximeter is a small, clip-on device with an oxygen saturation monitor. Here you will see the oxygen levels in your blood. To use it, you attach it to the end of your finger, or if conducted on infants, on their toes. Once turned on, it will shine an infrared light refraction through a patient’s finger and provide accurate results in seconds.
Through its LED display, you will see your oxygen saturation level or SpO2 along with your heart rate. A reading between 95%-100% is within normal range. For any readings below this figure, you should seek medical assistance.
How to Use It?
If this is your first time using the device, follow the step-by-step guide below to ensure that you get an accurate reading:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
- Remove nail polish or false nails.
- Make sure your hand is warm and that you’re relaxed before clipping on the device.
- Place your hand on your chest, below the level of your heart and hold it still.
- Switch on the device and clip or attach it to your index or middle finger.
- Keep it in place for at least a minute or longer if the pulse oximeter reading fluctuates.
- Wait once the reading stops or steadies on one number for at least 5 seconds.
- Write down the reading along with the date and time so you can track the changes and send them to your doctor.
Benefits of Using a Pulse Oximeter to Monitor COVID-19
Having a reliable pulse oximeter is handy for COVID-19-positive patients in monitoring their symptoms. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Covid, Read the how to check your oxygen level at home guide for detailed steps in checking your lung health through a Pulse Oximeter.
Here are the benefits of using the device during quarantine:
1. Know your symptoms
Not all bodies are the same, therefore you may experience different symptoms when you contract coronavirus. One symptom that may stand out is a low oxygen saturation level. Patients who suffer from low levels of oxygen saturation, may experience shortness of breath which can lead to serious health consequences, such as worsening COVID-19. A pulse oximeter can be used to detect any abnormal changes in oxygen saturation levels.
2. Track of your blood oxygen saturation
If a normal blood oxygen saturation rate is between 95% and 100%, what is a dangerously low oxygen level? An indication of a low blood oxygen rate is when the oxygen monitor shows it’s below 90%. In the same way, if your oxygen concentrations fall below 95%, contact your healthcare provider as it can indicate a concerning medical problem, especially if you’re also experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
3. Immediately send results to your healthcare professional
Most patients with COVID don’t need to be in the hospital. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stay in touch with your doctor. Fortunately, there are handy devices like a thermometer and pulse oximeter that help track your symptoms. Using a pulse oximeter to track COVID symptoms, particularly low blood oxygen levels, can help your doctor gain insights about your condition. With daily monitoring, plenty of rest, taking pain relievers and keeping yourself hydrated, a treatment plan focused on relieving symptoms can aid in fast recovery.
Should You Get a Pulse Oximeter?
Yes! Pulse oximeters are helpful for patients as long as they are used properly and with virtual support from a healthcare professional. Patients with asthma, COPD, or other respiratory diseases may have fluctuating SpO2 levels, however, it doesn’t always mean that they have COVID-19. The best way to know if you have the virus is to get a PCR lab test, especially if you’ve come in contact with a COVID-19 positive case.
Since the pandemic emerged, these devices have become popular, making them difficult to access. However, at Home Healthcare Online, we believe in quality healthcare for everyone. With years of experience in the medical market, we provide world-class health monitoring devices at an affordable price!