Is it necessary to have a pulse oximeter at home? Is it necessary to have a pulse oximeter at home?

You have probably heard of shortness of breath as one of the symptoms of COVID-19, which warrants consultation. This is because coronavirus can attack and inflame the lungs, resulting in the inability to properly oxygenate the blood.

A pulse oximeter is a small device that measures oxygen levels in the red blood cells. There is no need to prick your finger, just put your fingertip in a clip and wait for the result in seconds.

Pulmonologist Jairo Roa Buitrago explained on the program  Prevención y acción (Prevention and action) that having this device at home, as well as a good thermometer, is a good option in case you test positive for COVID-19. This way you can tell if “it starts to cause complications and you should be referred to a hospital or if you can manage it at home.”

He recommends knowing the optimal oximetry (blood oxygen) level depending on the city. For an adult, the measurement can fluctuate between 96 and 98%. For those at sea level, it can be 94% although in Bogotá, as the air is thinner, it can reach 92% (less than 90% is a warning sign).

According to the criteria of some specialists at the Methodist Clinic in Houston, USA, although not all people who get coronavirus have low oxygen saturation, it can help prevent people with obesity, lung problems, or smokers from having complications with the virus.

Read also: Myths about thermometers and why they are safe