A medical device you’ve possibly never heard of is selling out online and on store shelves due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So what is a pulse oximeter and why might you need one?
According to the American Lung Association, a pulse oximeter is an electronic device that measures the saturation of oxygen carried in your red blood cells. It can be used by doctors for patients with symptoms of shortness of breath or a known lung or heart condition.
The ALA said pulse oximeters can be attached to your fingers, forehead, nose, foot, ears or toes.
Bravo TV host Andy Cohen, who tested positive for the coronavirus, said the small device helped in his recovery.
“You could scare yourself and think, ‘Oh my God, my lungs don’t feel right,’ but you could use this pulse oximeter and see, ‘OK, well actually, you’re fine, you’re within the range,’” he said.
“So that’s my pro-tip,” Cohen said, according to the Yahoo! article. “Make sure you have Tylenol and a pulse oximeter.”
According to a report by HealthLeaders, officials at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in Washington State, which admitted the first U.S. COVID-19 patient, are sending patients who are likely positive for COVID-19 but not admitted to the hospital home with a thermometer and pulse oximeter to monitor their symptoms. With that, the report says, they can be cared for under the supervision of the health system’s telehealth team.
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