The pulse oximeter is a small instrument that is clamped on the finger to monitor the oxygen level in the blood. This kind of equipment, which was originally available in hospitals, suddenly began to attract everyone’s attention because of the new crown pneumonia epidemic. Speaking of this new coronary pneumonia. It is really strange. One of the things is that some patients with very low blood oxygen levels have not yet felt the severity of their illness. This has led some doctors (especially in the United States) to recommend pulse oximeters at home.
Sounds pretty reasonable, doesn’t it? However, you must know that although they are commonly used in hospitals, the value of healthy people at home is limited. Equipment problems or incorrect use may cause inaccurate readings, so it is not wise to rely solely on the oximeter without the comprehensive diagnostic support of medical staff. However, the oximeter can be used as an auxiliary device to help us understand our health.
Why is the pulse oximeter useful during the COVID-19 period?
The pulse oximeter is very small. After being clamped on the finger, it measures the pulse and the percentage of oxygen in the blood by irradiating the finger with light. The normal blood oxygen saturation of a healthy person is about 95-100%. If the oxygen level is below this level, there may be lung disease. A level below 92% (88% for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD) indicates a serious condition and may require supplemental oxygen or hospital monitoring.
A pulse oximeter may indicate a problem with blood oxygen levels, which may be related to the coronavirus, but it is only part of a comprehensive diagnosis. Blood oxygen saturation can help clinical decision-making, but it cannot replace clinical evaluation, nor can it be diagnosed alone.
Some doctors suggest that for patients with suspected symptoms of the new crown, but not serious enough to be hospitalized, they can consider using a pulse oximeter for monitoring at home.