A pulmonologist shares why you need to monitor your oxygen and pulse rate if you’re covid positive

Can you ignore your oxygen level or pulse rate if you are coronavirus positive? A top doctor talks about the importance of keeping a check on these indicators.
check oxygen levels
There is an alternative to oximeter. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Nikita Bhardwaj Published: 26 Dec 2020, 10:30 am IST
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We all know that keeping a check on our oxygen level and pulse rate is extremely important when it comes to coronavirus. But, have you ever wondered about the science behind it? It’s important to know why these two indicators are relevant in the context of the ongoing pandemic.

We got in touch with Dr Arvind Kate, a leading pulmonologist from Zen Multispecialty Hospital, Mumbai to understand the importance of keeping a tab on our oxygen levels and pulse rate.

Drop in the oxygen level is usually one of the initial signs of coronavirus, says Dr Kate

The air sacs tend to get filled with fluid and this, in turn, can put you at the risk of pneumonia. One may develop respiratory health issues and encounter breathing problems, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, or even a drop in the pulse rate.

oxygen and pulse rate
Covid-19 can spell doom for your organs. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“No one should ignore low oxygen levels. The oxygen level and pulse rate should be checked regularly,” recommended Dr Kate.

This is how coronavirus attacks your respiratory system

When an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks, droplets get generated. These droplets enter another person’s body via the eyes, nose and mouth. Similarly, the virus may find its way into your body due to touching an infected surface. After entering the body, coronavirus attacks the respiratory system including the tiny air sacs called alveoli. Eventually, it can lead to reduced oxygen levels. Even if one isn’t feeling breathless but the oxygen level is low, it becomes necessary to seek immediate medical attention. 

Oxygen levels help you determine the severity of the infection, he said

Low oxygen levels are observed in many patients. Low levels of oxygen can lead to hypoxemia, causing organ failure and cardiac problems. In addition, keeping a check on the pulse rate is important in order to ensure the heart is functioning well. A low pulse rate can cause dizziness, fainting, chest pain, and even breathing issues.

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This is the right oxygen level and pulse rate

SpO2 levels in all healthy individuals range from 94 to 96 per cent. Anything below 90 per cent will indicate low oxygen level and the patient will require immediate medical attention as he/she can lose his/her precious life. A normal pulse rate indicative of the number of times the heart beats per minute. It should be anywhere between 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Here are some handy tips by Dr Kate to maintain a healthy oxygen level and pulse rate
  • To maintain good oxygen levels, one will have to try to get fresh air. Keep the windows in your house open and go for regular walks. 
  • Try to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water.
  • Opt for foods packed with iron and make sure you’re exercising daily. 
  • Do not forget to do breathing exercises. 

“To maintain a good pulse rate, one will have to stay stress-free, avoid smoking, maintain an optimum weight, and eat a well-balanced diet loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. Cut down on alcohol and caffeine.  One should keep incentive spirometry at home to improve lung capacity,” concluded Dr Kate.

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So, ladies, make sure you’re checking your oxygen level and pulse rate regularly amidst this pandemic to stay aware about your health!

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About the Author

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content. ...Read More

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