Does it provide an accurate reading? This is what you need to know, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Low oxygen levels in the blood are early signs of worsening COVID. However, not everyone has obvious symptoms. For example, some people can lower their oxygen levels without shortness of breath or feeling sick.

Therefore, some people buy their own device (pulse oximeter) to monitor oxygen concentration at home. Others are regularly supplied with pulse oximeters as part of the COVID home care package.

By monitoring your oxygen levels at home, you can ensure that your lungs are properly oxygenating your blood. Alternatively, detecting low levels of oxygen may indicate an urgent need for medical care.

So what is a pulse oximeter? And if you can get it, how do you actually use it to monitor your COVID at home?

What is a pulse oximeter? How does it work?
The pulse oximeter is a routine clinical monitor that has been used for years inside and outside the hospital.

Most types that can be purchased for home use are designed like large clothespins that clip to your fingertips.

One side of the clip shines light on the sensor on the other side of the clip through your finger.

This gives you a measure of your blood color. Blood that carries more oxygen (oxygenated blood) is a brighter red than the bluer deoxygenated blood.

The oximeter interprets the color of the blood (through the amount of light absorbed) and provides a number (the percentage of oxygen in the blood compared to the maximum amount that can be carried).

This percentage is the “oxygen saturation” level. For a healthy person, this is 95% to 100%.

Since the pulse oximeter measures blood from the pulse of your finger, it also displays your heart rate (heart rate per minute).

How are people using them now?
Most people with COVID do not need to be hospitalized. Therefore, the service is set up to be monitored by your home medical professional and to come to the hospital only if you start to feel very sick.

Even those who are not eligible for this type of home hospital type monitoring should monitor their symptoms at home and seek medical care as needed.

One of the most important early signs of worsening COVID is a decrease in blood oxygen levels. This happens when the lungs become inflamed and the efficiency of absorbing oxygen is reduced. This can happen even before the person feels particularly sick.

Australian guidelines state that hospitalization should be considered if resting oxygen saturation drops from 92% to 94%.

Whether someone needs to go to the hospital, whether there are other warning signs such as rapid breathing, aging, not being fully vaccinated, whether there are other medical problems, and who It also depends on whether social support is limited.

For children, that number is less than 95%.

If possible, contact your GP or regular doctor for advice based on your individual situation.

Are the readings accurate?
Oxygen saturation measurements are generally very accurate. However, poor circulation, cold fingers, or movement can make it difficult for the device to find the pulse, or trick the probe into measuring movement as a pulse.

If your finger is cold or has poor circulation, you should try another finger or rub your hand to warm it before resuming reading. You also need to stay still during the measurement to reduce hand movements. This may be a challenge for young children to read!

Manicure, especially dark colors, can cause misleading oximeter readings, so we ask people to remove their nail polish before undergoing general anesthesia in the hospital.

However, manicure is less effective than acrylic nails. Therefore, it is best to remove the finger nail polish or acrylic nails used for the test.

What if my skin is dark?
Even more controversial is the inaccuracy of the pulse oximeter for dark-skinned people. Due to software issues, darkening of the skin increases the risk that some pulse oximeters overestimate oxygen levels.

This is a concern of the Australian Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA). However, there is no evidence to recommend a particular device.

However, in the type of monitoring we see in the community, we do not believe that discrepancies are clinically important. The changes are small and do not affect the type of care people need to receive. Observing measurements over hours or days can also give you a better understanding of the severity of the disease.

Therefore, you can use the pulse oximeter at home even if you have dark skin. Meanwhile, pulse oximeter manufacturers are tackling software issues.

So should I buy it?
If you can afford it, yes. Of concern to many healthcare professionals is that, as with rapid antigen testing, access to an oximeter can become difficult as the number of cases in the community increases.

Just as most homes have a thermometer, a simple, low-cost thermometer allows us all to monitor our health and seek help when circumstances change.

Pulse oximeters are currently available online and from pharmacies for around A $ 23, but can exceed $ 100. These prices are expected to rise as supply is limited.

You can use the same for multiple people in your household, including adults and children. However, the oximeter should be cleaned before it can be used by the next person. This can be done with a disinfectant wipe.

Are some types better than others?
It’s a good idea to get a pulse oximeter with a “waveform” indication to adjust the timing of your pulse and make sure your oxygen readings are accurate. Look for something that has a set of horizontal bars on the display, such as the battery charge indicator on a phone. Alternatively, you can purchase an ad or package that displays a waveform (a wavy line that indicates your pulse).

Some smartwatches and mobile phones also have an oximeter function. There is new evidence that some of these devices are accurate enough for home surveillance. However, the evidence is not strong and is usually not yet licensed for this use. So it would be best if you could get a pulse oximeter. (Conversation) AMS

(This is a PTI story syndicated through The Conversation)

Does it provide an accurate reading? This is what you need to know, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Source link Does it provide an accurate reading? This is what you need to know, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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