The UK is currently battling a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19), which was originally termed lineage B.1.1.7. The mutated strain, which was detected in November 2020, is pushing hospitals in the Capital and South East to the brink. One hospital in Essex has been forced to start managing oxygen supplies because of the number of coronavirus patients needing treatment.
How to use a pulse oximeter:
- Remove any nail varnish, dirt or artificial nails if you are going to use the device on your finger
- Turn the oximeter on and ensure that there is light shining between the clips
- Clip the device on one of your fingers or earlobes. Make sure that the light shines directly through the nail bed or earlobe
- Wait for a few seconds for the reading to appear on the display
- Take the reading after it stabilises.
According to the Symptom Study app, if you’re normally healthy and your oxygen saturation falls less than 95 percent, take a few deep breaths and retake the reading.
“If it is between 92 and 94 percent, seek advice from your GP or call NHS 111,” the health site warns.
It adds: “If it remains below 92 percent, visit the nearest Accident & Emergency (A&E) or call 999 for an ambulance. Make sure you tell the medical team that you have or may have COVID-19.”
What are the main symptoms of coronavirus?
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” explains the NHS.
How to respond
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus, get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.
Can I treat my symptoms at home?
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19), but you can often ease the symptoms at home until you recover.
However, if you have a high temperature, it can help to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration, advises the NHS.