How can we monitor our health at home during and after COVID-19?
The benefits of being able to monitor our own health at home are clear – particularly in times such as these when social distancing is so important.
For many people, a visit to the doctor will include some form of health check, such as blood pressure or heart rate monitoring. As many doctors are now carrying out phone consultations, it can be highly beneficial for a person to monitor their own health at home. Home health checks mean that doctors can stay informed about their patient’s health when a face-to-face appointment isn’t possible or can be avoided, and enable the patient to pick up any irregularities in their health, potentially flagging an issue which needs further investigation.
Recognising any symptoms or health problems early has become particularly important during the Coronavirus pandemic, but knowing how to use a health monitor correctly is paramount to getting accurate results.
The importance of using health monitors correctly
If a person is monitoring their own health it’s vital they understand how to use the equipment correctly to ensure that accurate readings are recorded. It’s important to read through the instructions thoroughly before the monitor is used. Additionally, if someone is experiencing symptoms that are causing them pain or difficulty breathing, monitoring is not a replacement for seeking urgent medical advice.
What are the options for home health monitoring?
Testing heart rate and blood oxygen saturation
We’ve all had our blood pressure and temperature taken at some point but having your blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels tested might not be as familiar. An oximeter is a small device that fits on the finger to monitor a person’s blood oxygen levels and pulse. This small but effective device can detect issues early that can cause difficulty breathing, which is especially important to anyone living with a lung condition, such as asthma or COPD, to check that their oxygen levels have not fallen too low and ensure they can get medical support as early as possible.
NRS Healthcare offers two oximeters: the First Aid Finger Pulse Oximeter and the LED Fingertip Pulse Oximeter. Both include a simple one button design and a clear digital display to present a person’s heart rate and blood oxygen saturation levels. A healthy person should be able to achieve normal blood oxygen saturation levels of 94% to 99% consistently. If it is below 94%, medical advice should be sought, and anything below 90% will require supplementary oxygen as this SpO2 level is unacceptable for a prolonged period of time.
Monitoring blood pressure levels
A blood pressure monitor can be used at home to check and monitor if a person’s blood pressure is too high or too low. It usually includes an arm cuff, pump and a digital display where you can read and record someone’s results. To use a blood pressure monitor, the person having their blood pressure taken will need to sit down with their legs uncrossed and be able to put the cuff around their upper arm. Before purchasing a monitor it’s important to check it meets certain medical standards.
At NRS Healthcare, we offer an Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor that meets the World Health Organisation’s classification and includes a clear digital display. If someone has an existing health condition or is taking certain medication that affects their blood pressure, a blood pressure monitor is an effective way to pick up any changes in their health.
Checking for a fever
One of the most common symptoms of the COVID-19 Coronavirus is a high temperature, also known as a fever. Although the symptoms of a high temperature can be apparent, such as having a hot chest, chills or sweating, taking your temperature with a thermometer can highlight the presence of a raised temperature beyond the normal body temperature, which is usually around 37 degrees Celsius.
There are many types of thermometer available, including ear thermometers and infrared thermometers as well as traditional thermometers that are placed under the armpit or tongue. Having a body temperature of around 37.8 degrees Celsius or above is considered to be a fever and staying alert to a rise in body temperature is vital to ensure a person does not leave their house with possible symptoms of the Coronavirus.
Home health monitoring has already become more popular in previous years and as social distancing and remote appointments continue for the foreseeable future, it is easy to see how home monitoring will remain a common part of many people’s lives as they take control of their health from home.
At NRS Healthcare we offer a range of health monitors, which can be viewed on our website and are designed to help people to manage different health checks at home.
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- May 13th 2020