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10TV: Do You Need a Pulse Oximeter?

10TV Pulse Oximeter 4.24.20

As more and more COVID-19 patients present with low oxygen levels, it turns out a tiny device used to monitor oxygen could be an early indicator of the virus.

Pulse oximeters measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. A percentage above 95 percent is considered normal, although it's natural for this number to decrease while you're asleep. 

"I would be concerned if someone had this on their finger, they had symptoms of COVID-19 and the number was in the 90 to 91percent range," Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, told 10TV in a recent interview. "I would be especially concerned if someone had no underlying health problems or lung disease."

It's important to remember that the normal oxygen range does vary from person to person. If you have questions about your percentage levels, the best person to interpret your pulse oximeter reading is still your healthcare prodiver.