Pulse oximeters may have come to your attention lately in light of the ongoing pandemic. If you have an existing heart or lung condition, you may already be using one at home. However, some people may be wondering if measuring blood oxygen levels is a good way of detecting COVID-19 at home, and whether that means they should go out and buy one. In this article, we share with you exactly what measuring blood oxygen levels can tell you and why they should not be used as a screening method for COVID-19.
Understanding Pulse Oximeters
You may have encountered a pulse oximeter during a trip to the hospital. These are usually clipped to your finger and they can measure the number of oxygen-saturated haemoglobin cells in your body through light sensors. As COVID-19 enters the body through airborne particles, some people may be wondering if a low blood oxygen level can be an indication of an infection.
Why Pulse Oximeters Should Not Be Used for COVID-19 Screening
It’s true that if you have a mild case of COVID-19 and are self-monitoring your symptoms from home, having a pulse oximeter to measure your blood oxygen levels will come in helpful. However, some infected persons may not experience low blood oxygen levels. There are also infected individuals who do not experience a low blood oxygen level, a phenomenon known as “happy hypoxia”. They may have other symptoms such as muscle aches and fevers, which are unrelated to oxygen levels and would not be picked up with a pulse oximeter.
What About COVID-19 Patients Experiencing Low Blood Oxygen Levels?
If you have contracted COVID-19 and are experiencing low blood oxygen levels, you will benefit from monitoring with a pulse oximeter. However, keep in mind that there is not one fixed reading that is deemed “safe” for all patients. The normal blood oxygen level for a healthy individual ranges from 96 to 100 percent. There is little difference between a reading of 96% and that of 100%. For COVID-19 patients whose blood oxygen levels have been affected, you should aim to keep your reading above 90%. If it drops much further below that and you are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing, always seek medical attention promptly.
Monitor Your SpO2 Levels with Health Canada Approved Fingertip Pulse Oximeters
If you experience low blood oxygen levels due to a heart or lung condition or COVID-19, you will benefit from monitoring your stats at home. When looking for a reliable and accurate fingertip pulse oximeter, look no further than LOOKEE® Tech. Our products are Health Canada approved for your peace of mind – do not purchase unlicensed products unknowingly. We hold both a Medical Device License and a Medical Device Establishment License (MDEL) from Health Canada, so you can be assured that our products are safe for use. If you require more information or would like a recommendation, please feel free to contact us.