CPR First Aid

Smartwatches vs. Oximeters for Covid-19 Oxygen Levels

Smartwatches vs. Oximeters for Covid-19 Oxygen Levels

As the world deals with the spread of Covid-19, many people are looking for ways to protect themselves and their families. One question that has come up is whether or not it’s necessary to wear a smartwatch to monitor oxygen levels, or if an oximeter would be preferable. Here we will explore the pros and cons of both devices to help you decide which is right for you.

How Does Covid-19 Make a Person Sick?

The coronavirus is thought to cause illness by attacking the respiratory system. The virus enters the body through the nose or mouth and then travels down into the lungs, where it attaches to cells and begins replicating. This process damages the lungs and makes it difficult for a person to breathe. In severe cases, Covid-19 can lead to death.

The symptoms of Covid-19 are similar to those of other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu. They include fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, patients may experience pneumonia, which is a serious lung infection. Symptoms usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus.

There is no specific treatment for Covid-19, and there is no vaccine to prevent it. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting the respiratory system. In severe cases, patients may require hospitalisation and mechanical ventilation to help them breathe.

Current Status of Covid-19 in Australia

As of May 2022, the Australian Government Department of Health reports that there have been a total of 12,752 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Australia, with 10,817 recoveries and 247 deaths. The majority of cases have been concentrated in the states of Victoria (6,153) and New South Wales (3,819), with smaller numbers in other states and territories. The Australian Government is continuing to monitor the situation closely and remains committed to keeping the Australian public safe.

What is Oxygen Saturation or SPO2?

Your oxygen saturation is the percentage of haemoglobin in your blood that carries oxygen. Normal SPO2 levels are typically between 95 and 100 percent. A reading below 90 percent is considered low and may indicate that you have a condition called hypoxemia, which means that not enough oxygen is reaching your tissues.

Causes of Hypoxemia

Hypoxemia can be caused by a variety of conditions, including heart and lung diseases, altitude sickness, and sleep apnea. If you have hypoxemia, you may experience shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest pain, or an irregular heartbeat.

Hypoxemia is a medical emergency. In any setting, having completed a Southport first aid course gives you the confidence to provide basic life support to anyone in need, anytime.

How Does the Body Maintain Normal SpO2 Levels?

The body has a number of mechanisms in place to maintain normal SpO2 levels. These include:

  • regulating the production of red blood cells
  • controlling the rate of breathing
  • adjusting the amount of oxygen that is released from the lungs into the bloodstream
  • increasing the blood flow to tissues that need more oxygen

If any of these mechanisms are not working properly, it can lead to a drop in SpO2 levels. For example, if the body is not producing enough red blood cells, there will be fewer oxygen-carrying molecules available to transport oxygen to the tissues. Additionally, if the rate of breathing is too slow, not enough oxygen will be taken in and this can also result in a decrease in SpO2 levels.

Covid-19 Blood Oxygen Levels

A blood oxygen level below 90% is considered low and may be an early sign of Covid-19. Even if your blood oxygen level is normal, you could still have the virus and should self-isolate.

A drop in blood oxygen levels can happen quickly for some people with Covid-19, so it’s important to be aware of this possibility. If you have a pulse oximeter at home, it can be helpful to monitor your blood oxygen levels as you self-isolate. Seek immediate medical attention if your blood oxygen level drops below 95% or if you experience other symptoms of Covid-19.

How Can I Measure My Oxygen Level at Home?

There are a few convenient ways that you can measure your oxygen levels at home.

Using a Pulse Oximeter

The most common way is with a pulse oximeter. A pulse oximeter is a small, portable device that measures the oxygen level in your blood. It works by shining a light through your skin and measuring how much oxygen is in your blood.

3 Readings of a Pulse Oximeter

There are three readings that a pulse oximeter can take:

  1. Oxygen saturation is a measure of how much oxygen is present in the blood.
  2. Pulse rate is the number of heartbeats per minute.
  3. The perfusion index is a measure of how well the blood is flowing through the body.

Advantages of Using a Pulse Oximeter

Pulse oximetry is a valuable tool that can help to improve the quality of care for patients with respiratory conditions. There are many advantages to using a pulse oximeter, including:

  • It is a quick and easy way to check oxygen levels.
  • Pulse oximetry is noninvasive and does not require any special training to use.
  • The results of a pulse oximetry test are usually available immediately.
  • Pulse oximeters are portable and can be used in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and even at home.

Is a pulse oximeter reliable in measuring Covid-19 oxygen levels?

Note that a pulse oximeter is not a device that can help diagnose Covid-19 but rather a tool to measure the body’s oxygen saturation. A SpO2 reading of less than 90% may indicate Covid-19.

Using a Smartwatch

Smartwatches, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly popular, and many of them now have the ability to track your SpO2 levels. This can be a great way to monitor your health and make sure that you’re getting enough oxygen. There are a few things to keep in mind when using a smartwatch to measure your SpO2 levels.

First, it’s important to make sure that the watch is properly calibrated. If it’s not, the readings may not be accurate.

Second, it’s important to take multiple readings over time. This will help you get an accurate picture of your SpO2 levels.

Finally, if you have any concerns about your SpO2 levels, you should see a doctor. They can help you interpret the data and make sure that you’re getting the oxygen you need.

If you’re looking for a convenient way to track your SpO2 levels, a smartwatch may be a good option for you. Just make sure to keep the above things in mind to get the most accurate readings.

Advantages of Using a Smartwatch

There are many advantages to using a smartwatch for SpO2 monitoring.

  • Smartwatches are convenient and easy to wear.
  • They can track your oxygen saturation levels continuously.

This data can be very useful for people with chronic lung conditions or sleep apnea, as it can help them to identify early warning signs of low oxygen levels.

  • Smartwatches typically have other features that may be beneficial for people with chronic medical conditions, such as heart rate monitors and activity tracking.

Smartwatch vs. Pulse Oximeter

So, which is better to use between the two? If you’re wondering whether a pulse oximeter or smartwatch is better for SpO2 reading, the answer may surprise you. While both devices can give you an approximation of your blood oxygen saturation levels, pulse oximeters are generally more accurate. This is because they measure oxygen saturation levels directly from your bloodstream, while smartwatches estimate them based on other factors like heart rate and skin temperature.

So, if you’re looking for the most accurate SpO2 reading possible, a pulse oximeter is the way to go. However, if you’re simply interested in tracking your blood oxygen levels over time, a smartwatch may be sufficient.

CPR First Aid’s (RTO 21903) first aid training facility at Cnr Ferry Rd and, Cotlew St E, Southport 4215 is one of the locations across Australia where we deliver practical-based learning and assessment. Contact us for more information about our nationally accredited courses.

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