Too many patients are showing up at emergency rooms with perilously low oxygen levels, putting them at risk for severe complications and even death related to Covid-19.
However, a simple home gadget called a Pulse Oximeter can help patients seek help sooner. The Pulse Oximeter is a small device like a large clothespin.
It functions best when placed over the middle finger of your dominant hand and when the hand and finger are warm. The device measures the oxygen percentage in your blood and your pulse rate. A healthy person has an oxygen reading between 95 and 98 percent and a pulse between 60 and 100. Please note the pulse rate may be lower for athletes.
If your number dips below 92, it’s time to call your doctor. This not necessarily a dangerous sign. The good news is it is a lot easier to bolster oxygen levels that are just beginning to drop than one that is dangerously low.
While fever, cough, aching, and pain are important signs for COVID, the Pulse Oximeter readings are the most important measurements to determine more critical clinical outcomes. Many patients will not feel short of breath, particularly younger and healthier ones, but falling oxygen levels in the blood will indicate serious developing symptoms and the need for hospitalization.
Most pulse oximeters can be bought in drug stores, or online between $20-50. iPhone apps for pulse oximetry are currently inaccurate. This simple device is imperative to have.
At the Salerno Center in New York and at the Salerno Wellness in Connecticut all patients will have their oxygen percentages checked.
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