Oximeters selling out as doctors urge everyone to buy them as essential COVID tools

A pulse oximeter is a noninvasive method for monitoring a person's oxygen saturation.

Pulse oximeters are fast selling out after doctors urged all residents to buy one so that they can monitor their oxygen level in case they get COVID-19.

Dr. Joleen Aguon, GMH medical director, said some COVID victims may have “silent hypoxia” — a condition where there is low oxygen to tissues.

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“You have no idea that your oxygen levels are critically low in your tissues. And so the advice that I give to the community is, if you test positive for COVID, you should purchase a pulse oximeter, which measures your oxygen level. On day five and on from your exposure, you should check your oxygen level several times during the day because you will not know that your oxygen levels are that low and that’s what I think is contributing to these dead on arrival cases,” Aguon said during Monday’s news conference held by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.

A check by PNC discovered that Rexall Drug had already run out of the oximeters just a few hours after the news conference. Mega Drug just got a sizable shipment of oximeters but by Tuesday morning, they were sold out.  Both pharmacies said they have ordered more of the in-demand devices from their suppliers.

“COVID is an incredibly smart virus because it can attack just about every organ system in the body. Patients can come in with acute strokes, they can come in with heart attacks. They can come in with everything that we could normally have without a virus. And it’s just because there is no oxygen getting to those tissues, and that’s the bottom line. So if by the fifth day, you are starting to feel more short of breath, please, get a pulse oximeter, and check your oxygen saturations,” Aguon had said.

She added: “Your magic number is less than 95. If that number is less than 95, you need to go into the hospital because you qualify for treatments that improve mortality.