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Pulse oximeter more useful than temperature checks for older adults: Covid-19 study

May 06, 2021 09:12 IST | By Editorji News Desk

A pulse oximeter is a better indicator of infection in older adults than temperature checks, finds a new Covid-19 study led by researchers at the Washington State University.

Adding that people have gotten accustomed to checking their temperature during the pandemic as fever is a common symptom of the virus. However, the paper notes that baseline temperature is lower in older adults which means a fever may be overlooked using the standard definitions of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater.

Additionally, some Covid-19 patients have no visible signs of having low oxygen levels, such as shortness of breath, yet have oxygen saturation below 90 per cent. Such asymptomatic hypoxia can be associated with extremely poor outcomes noted the team in the journal Frontiers in Medicine. 

Detection of hypoxia is critical in the prevention of infection progression, initiation of treatment and helps in better allocation of scarce healthcare resources.