As you have symptoms of Covid-19, you – or your carer – has received a diary and pulse oximeter. Covid-19 is a viral illness which for most people is mild, but for some, it can quickly become serious. That is why we need you to monitor your breathing, your heartrate, and the level of oxygen in your blood. By recording these measurements in the diary provided, you can help your GP – or 111 – decide on the best treatment for you.
What is a Pulse Oximeter?
A pulse oximeter monitors how fast your heart beats and the level of oxygen in your blood, to accurately assess your progress with Covid-19. An ideal blood- oxygen level is between 95 and 99%. An ideal heart rate is between 50 and 90.
How to use a Pulse Oximeter?
- Remove any nail polish or false nails, and warm your hand if cold.
- Rest for at least five minutes before taking your measurement.
- Rest your hand on your chest at heart level and hold it still.
- Switch on the pulse oximeter, and place it on your middle or index finger.
- The reading takes time to steady. Keep the pulse oximeter in place for at least a minute, or longer if the reading is not stable.
- Record the highest result, once it has not changed for five seconds.
- Identify each reading carefully, Write the information in the diary.
- Start writing from the “baseline” and record three times a day at the same times. For instance, when you would normally eat meals.
- Take extra measurements if you feel a change in your health.
Go to A&E immediately, or Ring 999 if:
- You feel seriously ill.
- You are unable to complete short sentences, while resting, due to breathlessness, or your oxygen level is 92% or less, If it is, check again immediately, if it remains 92 or below, go to A&E immediately or call 999.
Ring your GP or 111, as soon as possible, if:
- Your oxygen level is 93 or 94% when sitting or lying down, and remains at this level, after being rechecked within an hour
- You slowly start feeling more unwell, or more breathless for 2 or more hours, or
- You have difficulty breathing when getting up, for instance, to go to the toilet.
- It also helps to keep track of your temperature. However, as long as your oxygen level and breathing are normal, you don’t need to contact your GP or 111 if you have a temperature. Other symptoms are generally less worrying. Paracetamol and regular fluids can help, and most people will get better by themselves within 2 to 3 weeks.
- Remember: some people with COVID-19 may develop other problems, or have other causes for their symptoms. If you are concerned, please visit the NHS website for advice.
- Even if you feel better, please keep the oximeter for at least 14 days, as some patients feel unwell again after the first week of symptoms.
- After this, please return the oximeter and your diary, to your GP surgery in the bag provided.
And of course, please carefully follow government advice via the NHS website.
Thanks! And we wish you a speedy recovery!
What is a pulse oximeter?
A pulse oximeter is a medical device that measures the amount of oxygen in a person's blood, as well as their heart rate. It is used to monitor the progress of individuals with Covid-19 and to assess their oxygen levels.
What is the ideal range for blood oxygen levels?
The ideal range for blood oxygen levels is between 95 and 99%.
How often should I use the pulse oximeter?
It is recommended to take measurements at least three times a day, at the same times each day, such as when you would normally eat meals. You should also take extra measurements if you feel a change in your health.
What should I do if my oxygen level is between 93-94%?
If your oxygen level is between 93-94% and remains at this level after being rechecked within an hour, you should contact your GP or 111 as soon as possible.
Is it necessary to contact my GP or 111 if I have a temperature?
As long as your oxygen level and breathing are normal, you don’t need to contact your GP or 111 if you have a temperature. Other symptoms, such as a fever, are generally less worrying.
How long should I keep the pulse oximeter for?
You should keep the pulse oximeter for at least 14 days, as some patients may feel unwell again after the first week of symptoms.