Pulse Oximeter: Doctors and health organisations around the world have recognised that apart from the common symptoms of COVID-19 like fever, dry cough and tiredness, some serious symptoms of Coronavirus infection are difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath, pain in the chest and loss of movement or speech. And it is regarded that from among these, shortness of breath or discomfort while breathing can be among the most dangerous signs because more often than not it corresponds with depletion of oxygen level in blood — which can prove to be fatal if not addressed on time.
One device that has come as a lifeline for COVID-19 patients, or people with respiratory problems, in these times, is the pulse oximeter. Its efficacy was recently recognised by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who called it a ‘suraksha kavach’ (protective shield) and said that deaths have been minimised among Coronavirus patients in home isolation in Delhi through pulse oximeters.
The pulse oximeter, he said, helps patients notice when the oxygen level in their blood falls under a certain level and they inform the authorities about it, who in turn send oxygen concentrators to their home or rush them to a hospital. As cases rose alarmingly in the capital, the Delhi government had provided pulse oximeters to coronavirus patients who had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic and undergoing home isolation.
The device helps people measure the levels of oxygen in their blood while they are at home or on the move. The portable device is a boon as it registers blood oxygen reading within seconds. It is a life saviour in cases of hypoxia where the patient does not notice the depletion in oxygen in their blood and it can have serious repercussions.
How pulse oximeters work:
The stapler-sized pulse oximeter has to be clipped on to the fingertip.
In a few seconds, the device displays the level of oxygen in the blood.
Experts say patients should call for medical help if their blood oxygen level falls below 90.