The Alarming Truth About Blood Oxygen Level And COVID 19
Until very recently most of us never even thought about the ultimate voluntary activity of our body. Breathing! But now that is not the case. Monitoring your breathing and oxygen level in the bloodstream have become vital!
The World Health Organization confirmed the symptoms of COVID 19 ranging from mild illness to pneumonia. Moderate symptoms of the disease are ranging from fever, cough, sore throat and headaches. In severe cases, difficulty in breathing and death can occur.
COVID-19 And blood oxygen level
Blood oxygen level describes the amount of oxygen that is circulating in the blood. The novel coronavirus enters the body through the respiratory tract and causes lung inflammation and pneumonia. As these conditions are injuring the lungs, the amount of oxygen transferred into the bloodstream will have an impact.
This oxygen impairment can occur at multiple stages of COVID-19, and not completely for critically ill patients placed on ventilators.
But one of the most alarming phenomena associated with COVID 19 is 'Happy hypoxia' or 'Silent hypoxia'. In this condition, the affected person can have dangerously low oxygen level, but will not feel any breathing difficulty. This calls for constant monitoring of oxygen levels to see if you are doing fine.
What is the normal oxygen level in the bloodstream?
A normal reading of oxygen level is between 95 to 100 percent. Values below 90 per cent are considered low. A patient will start experiencing the symptoms of hypoxia usually when oxygen falls below 95%. You will get symptoms like breathlessness, feeling of discomfort, dizziness etc.
As there are many cases of asymptomatic hypoxia being reported amongst COVID 19 patients, monitoring the oxygen level has become very important.
What is a Pulse Oximeter?
The best way to monitor the blood oxygen level at home is by using a pulse oximeter. It is a non-invasive and painless way to check the blood oxygen level.
The pulse oximeter is a small clip-like device that attaches to a body part, like fingers, toes or earlobe. The oxygen level in the blood is detected by putting the clip on your finger or earlobe. Small beams of light pass through the blood in the finger, measuring the amount of oxygen.
Please note that...
A pulse oximeter cannot detect COVID 19, but it can help you monitor the signs and symptoms associated with the virus. Even though having lower reading are not an indication of COVID 19, it can be a sign of other health issues that need to be attended promptly.
So if you are monitoring your blood oxygen levels at home with a pulse oximeter, contact your health care provider if the reading drops below 90-95%.
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