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I just finished reading a CBS news interview about the symptoms of COVID-19. (Google Search "NH Doctor Believes Pulse Oximeter Could Help Patients Get Ahead of Coronavirus"). In summary, the doctor states that people show up with shortness of breath symptoms with oxygen levels at "50% of normal but no sensation of difficulty breathing." "This disease kills by silent hypoxia and patients should understand that shortness of breath is a late sign."

Apparently the disease has two phases: a "silent hypoxia" where oxygen levels are drifting down but you feel ok, and the second phase where your lungs get stiff, carbon dioxide starts to build up, and you begin to feel short of breath. I purchased my pulse oximeter years ago and check my O2 level daily, not because of coronavirus but because I have very limited lung function. In the spring, the pollen count starts to affect my ability to breathe and the pulse oximeter quantifies the result. Now it appears recording O2 levels is a good idea to get an early indication of COVID-19 infection.

Pulse Oximeters are readily available at drug stores or online. I bet they've gone up in price since this news but nevertheless, they are worth the expense. If you are a lung cancer survivor in this coronavirus era, a pulse oximeter is as necessary as a home thermometer, my view.

Stay the course.


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I saw that news story also.  Being a retired RN I was very surprised that you could have an O2 sat of only 50 and not feel short of breath !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If we had a patient that low we would be very.  very worried     !!!!!!!!!!!!!!    To think it could block that feeling in your brain !

I have and always have had a thermometer.  Never thought of buying an Oximeter as they suggested.  

Donna 'G

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been looking all over for one, none to be found. Not even on line. I contacted a medical supply store and they said good luck and chuckled, they can't even get them. 


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