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A Guide To Monitor The Necessary Vitals During COVID-19

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According to a recent study, the coronavirus has caused immense psychological distress (stress, anxiety, insomnia and fear), especially to the most vulnerable and marginalised sections of the population, which may have very long-term effects.

The development of the COVID-19 vaccine is a step into a somewhat brighter future, but there remains a lot to be done. Time and again, health organisations across the world have emphasised the need for individuals to practice and take cautionary measures against the virus.

A balanced diet, breathing exercises, staying updated and developing personal resilience to adapt to such crises is the need of the hour.

There has been an extremely high volume of COVID-19 cases worldwide, with high mortality rates and the treatment remains unclear. Information about diagnostic norms to identify vulnerable patients who might require close monitoring is necessary. 

According to medical professionals, you should closely monitor four essential body functions:

1. BPM PR

2. Oxygen saturation in the blood

3. Body Temperature

4. Blood pressure

Let’s talk about them in detail.

1. BPM PR

Your pulse rate or Beats Per Minute is the frequency at which your heart beats in one minute.

Checking your pulse will help you understand how well your heart is functioning, how your body is reacting to a stressful situation, such as being sick and how fit you are. The number of times your heart beats in one minute is your heartbeat, which a heart rate monitor can track.

What is a regular pulse rate?

The perfect time to check your pulse rate is in the morning, right after you wake up. The average heart rate per minute according to age is:

Babies: 100-160 beats per minute

Children ( 1-10 years): 60-140 beats per minute

People ( 10 years and older): 60-100 beats per minute

While your body is fighting and recovering against COVID-19, your beats per minute are bound to change. If your BPM is higher than usual, you may have a fever. Fever is one of the major symptoms of COVID-19 – keeping track of your pulse rate can help you stay vigilant and ascertain the symptoms of the virus on time.

How can you measure your PR BPM?

It’s considerably simple to measure your PR BPM –  use a timer, find your pulse and make a note of the number of beats in one minute. Alternatively, you can use a heart rate monitor for the same. A heart rate monitor gives precise readings depending on the quality of the meter.

2. SP02

SPO2 stands for serum (S) Pressure (P) 02 (Oxygen). SP02 computes the level of oxygen carried by the haemoglobin in your blood, also known as oxygen saturation in the blood. One molecule of haemoglobin (found in red blood cells) carries up to four oxygen molecules, thus being 100% “saturated” with oxygen.

Monitoring the oxygen level in your blood helps in the diagnosis of underlying lung diseases. An SPO2 monitor or pulse oximeter is a device that measures oxygen saturation in percentage (out of 100). SP02 reading is generally low in anaemic patients.

What is the ideal range for SP02?

In a healthy person, a blood saturation level of 95-100% is considered normal. If the oxygen percentage level is below 95%, it can indicate an underlying lung problem. 

Many people with COVID-19 experience low oxygen levels. If the oxygen saturation is lower than 94%, this means the oxygen supply is inadequate at the tissue level, and the patient needs to be treated quickly. Oxygen saturation of less than 90% is considered a medical emergency.

Measuring SP02

You can determine your SPO2 levels through a blood-gas test, oxygen therapy assessment or by using a pulse oximeter. 

A pulse oximeter is well suited as an early-warning device for hypoxia (absence of adequate oxygen in the tissues). It is a small device that is clipped to your finger or earlobe. 

A pulse oximeter displays the oxygen level in the blood (out of 100) and your pulse rate. The device is sensitive to heat and fluids and might be rendered non-functional in case of rough handling. It is recommended to buy a sturdy and quality oximeter with a clear LED and a neat light detector (called the photo-detector).

3. Temperature

High body temperature is a common occurrence when your body is fighting systemic inflammation. One of the early symptoms of COVID-19 is a high body temperature. Digital thermometers and no-contact thermometers are widely used to identify people with COVID-19.

Normal body temperature

Everyone’s normal body temperature is different and it changes during the day. 98.6°C or 209.48°F was established as a normal body temperature 150 years ago by a German doctor after surveying more than 25,000 patients. 

Usually, one is said to have a fever when one’s body temperature is higher than 38°C or 100.4°F. Ideal body temperatures for different age groups can be as follows:

Type of reading0–2 years3–10 years11–65 yearsOver 65 years
Oral95.9–99.5°F (35.5–37.5°C)95.9–99.5°F (35.5–37.5°C)97.6–99.6°F (36.4–37.6°C)96.4–98.5°F (35.8–36.9°C)
Rectal97.9–100.4°F (36.6–38°C)97.9–100.4°F (36.6–38°C)98.6–100.6°F (37.0–38.1°C)97.1–99.2°F (36.2–37.3°C)
Armpit94.5–99.1°F (34.7–37.3°C)96.6–98.0°F (35.9–36.7°C)95.3–98.4°F (35.2–36.9°C)96.0–97.4°F (35.6–36.3°C)
Ear97.5–100.4°F (36.4–38°C)97.0–100.0°F (36.1–37.8°C)96.6–99.7°F (35.9–37.6°C)96.4–99.5°F (35.8–37.5°C)

Measuring body temperature

A thermometer is a device that records your body temperature. A digital thermometer gives accurate readings in under a minute and is preferred over mercury thermometers, as mercury thermometers are challenging to read and mercury is poisonous.

You can use a digital thermometer to measure temperature orally or by placing it under the armpit. A tympanic (ear) thermometer measures the temperature inside of the ear, a temporal (forehead) thermometer measures the heat that comes off of the head and a rectal thermometer (used for infants aged 0-3 years old) measures the temperature inside of the anus.

4. Blood Pressure

The force of your blood pressing through the walls of your arteries is known as blood pressure.

Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. 

Low blood pressure is defined as a reading of fewer than 90 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) for the top number (systolic) or 60 mm Hg for the bottom number (diastolic). 

Your blood vessels, heart, brain, kidneys and eyes are all placed under additional strain if the blood pressure is too high (above 140/90). People with high blood pressure might have to deal with more complications caused by the COVID-19 virus.

Ideal blood pressure for your age

AgeSystolic RangeDiastolic Range
Newborn to 6 months45–9030–65
6 months to 2 years80–10040–70
Children (2–13 years)80–12040–80
Adolescent (14–18 years)90–12050–80
Adult (19–40 years)95–13560–80
Adult (41–60 years)110–14570–90
Older adult (61 and older)95–14570–90

Monitoring blood pressure

Blood pressure readings (units of millimetres of mercury (mmHg) always come in pairs with an upper and lower value. Blood pressure has to be measured periodically – it is measured manually by a device called a sphygmomanometer. You can measure your own blood pressure using a digital BP monitor.

Monitoring your body’s essential functions allows you and medical professionals to assess your health and well-being. It is necessary to be responsible and updated as there are potential bottlenecks and unacknowledged after-effects due to COVID-19.

Remember, don’t be complacent—if critical, consult your healthcare provider/medical expert or a specialist right away.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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