MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday, April 28, warned against the home use of pulse oximeters for coronavirus detection without the guidance of medical professionals.
DOH Undersectary Maria Rosario Vergeire issued the reminder following the increase in sales of pulse oximeters abroad, spurred by reports that the device can help in the early detection of COVID-19.
“Hindi natin ito dapat gamitin sa bahay para masabi kung tayo ay may sakit na COVID-19 or wala (We cannot use this at home to determine if we are infected with COVID-19 or not),” Vergeire told reporters.
“Ginagamit ito sa hospital setting o, ‘di kaya ay sa bahay pero dapat may healthcare professionals guiding you with the interpretation of the results (This is being used in the hospital setting or at home but healthcare professionals should be there guiding you with the interpretation of the results),” she added.
In a CNN report, sales of pulse oximeters in the United States spiked in January when the country recorded its first case of the coronavirus. Google searches for the device also went up in April after The New York Times published an opinion piece, saying that the device could provide an early warning on the need COVID-19 treatment.
A pulse oximeter is a medical device that measures the saturation of oxygen in a person’s red blood cells. It is being used by medical professionals on patients if they are experiencing shortness of breath or those who have lung or heart conditions to determine if they’re getting enough oxygen.
Shortness of breath is among the symptoms of COVID-19.
When asked if there’s a spike in purchases of the device in the Philippines, Vergeire said that the the DOH has not received any reports so far.
As of Monday, April 27, the Philippines recorded 7,777 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 511 deaths and 932 recoveries.
The DOH earlier said that the pandemic might last until 2021 if no intervention is done. (READ: Worst case scenario? Pandemic may last until 2021 if no intervention – DOH)
With a coronavirus vaccine at least 12 to 18 months in the pipeline, the World Health Organization on Monday, advised the Philippines advance its review of regulations in approving and using vaccines. (READ: Only a coronavirus vaccine will allow return to ‘normalcy’ – U.N. chief) – Rappler.com