'If oxygen level is 94%': AIIMS director on Oxygen misuse in Covid treatment

The saturation level has to be checked only after 15 minutes of rest to avoid any fluctuation in the reading.
The reading has to be followed and people should not panic if there is only one instance of a drop in the saturation level.
The reading has to be followed and people should not panic if there is only one instance of a drop in the saturation level.
Updated on Nov 20, 2021 04:09 AM IST
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Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh

Even if one's oxygen saturation level is 92 to 94 per cent, there may not be any reason to panic, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria has said. In a webinar on oxygen therapy for Covid-19 treatment, organised by AIIMS, experts on Wednesday emphasised that oxygen therapy is more important than ventilation as more people on oxygen therapy can be brought back to life. But equally important is saving oxygen and not overusing it. If someone's oxygen saturation is around 95 per cent, trying to bring that to 98 or 99 per cent is futile.

"If your oxygen saturation level is around 94 per cent, it means there is sufficient oxygen in your body. Previously when we used to do prolonged oxygen therapy for people with lung diseases, we have seen people doing fine in oxygen saturation of even 88 per cent. Oxygen saturation of 92 or 93 should not be considered critical. But this is a buffer level when you can seek medical help without panicking," Dr Guleria said.

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The experts also stressed the need of checking the oxygen saturation 15 minutes after resting and consult a doctor only when there is a sustained drop at the level, not when there is a one-off dip in the measurement, as the reading can depend on posture too.

Should one buy oxygen cylinders for home usage? Answering this question, Dr Guleria said people are stocking up on oxygen cylinders at home without knowing the proper usage. Handling without care will lead to wastage.

"One common example of oxygen wastage is when patients are given food, they take the oxygen mask off and keep it at the side without switching off the connection," Dr Guleria said.

The Union health ministry has also issued a detailed guideline on self-proning to improve breathing where one can lie face down or at different prescribed postures for better ventilation.

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