As the world deals with the spread of Covid-19, many people seek 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, travels into the lungs, attaches to cells, and replicates. 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 severe lung infection. Symptoms usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus.
There is no specific treatment for Covid-19, and no vaccine prevents 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 12,752 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Australia, with 10,817 recoveries and 247 deaths. Most cases have been concentrated in Victoria (6,153) and New South Wales (3,819), with smaller numbers in other states and territories. The Australian Government continues monitoring 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
Various conditions, including heart and lung diseases, altitude sickness, and sleep apnea, can cause hypoxemia. 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, completing 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 some 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 correctly, it can lead to a drop in SpO2 levels. For example, if the body is not producing enough red blood cells, fewer oxygen-carrying molecules will be available to transport oxygen to the tissues. Additionally, if the breathing rate is too slow, not enough oxygen will be taken in, which can also decrease 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 essential 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 to 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:
- Oxygen saturation measures how much oxygen is present in the blood.
- Pulse rate is the number of heartbeats per minute.
- 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 the following:
- 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 various 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 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 now can track your SpO2 levels. This is a great way to monitor your health and ensure you get enough oxygen. There are a few things to keep in mind when using a smartwatch to measure your SpO2 levels.
First, it’s vital to ensure that the watch is calibrated correctly. If it is not, the readings may not be accurate.
Second, it is important to take multiple readings over time. This will help you get an accurate picture of your SpO2 levels.
Finally, you should see a doctor if you have any concerns about your SpO2 levels. They can help you interpret the data and get the oxygen you need.
A smartwatch may be a good option if you’re looking for a convenient way to track your SpO2 levels. Just 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 beneficial 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 approximate 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, a pulse oximeter is a way to go if you’re looking for the most accurate SpO2 reading possible. However, a smartwatch is sufficient if you’re interested in tracking your blood oxygen levels over time.
CPR First Aid’sAid’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.