When it comes to managing the current Covid 19 pandemic it’s important to be informed, careful, and cautious. While it’s vital to follow the latest government advice and guidance, taking a few simple extra steps can help keep you – and your friends and family – as safe as possible. If you’re keen to use a quick and simple way to monitor your health, tracking your blood oxygen levels can potentially be helpful on top of having an at-home covid-19 test kit ready to be used in case you had direct contact with someone that has the covid-19 virus.
But what exactly are your blood oxygen levels and how do you measure them without causing issues?
What is your blood oxygen level?
Put simply, your blood oxygen levels track the percentage of oxygen that is in our blood. Blood oxygenation is vital for a process known as cellular respiration that allows us to extract energy from the food we eat and the nutrients in everything that we consume. This is represented as a percentage with 95-100% saturation classed as healthy. However, anything below this is potentially cause for concern.
At lower levels, your body is beginning to be starved of oxygen and the effects will be seen almost immediately. Your systems have to work harder to produce the energy you need, and a lack of oxygen can lead to potentially serious conditions such as hypoxia and hypoxaemia. And when it comes to the effects of Covid, it’s potentially more important than ever before to monitor it.
Why is it potentially so important?
While research is still ongoing, a lack of blood oxygen can be an early marker of infection before your issues begin to show or your infection is asymptomatic. Tracking this can help you give an ‘early warning’ about infection and allow you to order a test through a healthcare provider or pre-emptively isolate.
The tracking of blood oxygen also acts as a marker for recovery for many patients. In the UK, many NHS patients have returned home post-infection with a device called a blood pulse oximeter that tracks the saturation in their blood. As pneumonia is one of the many side effects of Covid infection, tracking blood saturation is a good way to map recovery or potentially spot changes in long-term issues. It might be a good situation where you need to consider the option to sue the NHS.
How is it measured?
Thankfully, tracking your Covid saturation levels is relatively straightforward. Using a device like a blood pulse oximeter allows you to check your levels quickly and accurately when needed. Painless to apply, a device is clipped onto your finger and shines a beam of light onto your skin. The device then measures the degree of light absorption and uses that to quickly calculate the percentage of oxygen in your blood.
Picking up an oximeter is relatively straightforward, but it is important to use a little judgement when making a purchase. If you’re buying one online make sure it’s from a reliable provider such as Sensoronics or another market leader and check that it has a full warranty as an official, reliable product. And when taking a reading always be sure to check and re-check the result. If the values are potentially low or worrying, consult your healthcare provider and follow their advice.