I’ve read a lot of news during this time of physical distancing (five weeks? six weeks? is it now). In the last week I’ve come across two pieces of information that could prove significant should, heaven forbid, I start showing symptoms of COVID-19.
The first is the “peanut butter sniff test” which I read about in the National Post (April 18 2020)
a simple do-it-at-home sniff test, using common household items, would allow participants — the great mass of us — to start tracking their sense of smell. In this way, an asymptomatic carrier who feels like a million bucks, but notes a diminishing sense of smell one day to the next, could consider quarantining, ASAP, instead of carrying on until their olfactory sense disappears altogether.
The second which I came across in the New York Times (April 20 2020) describes how the COVID-19 pneumonia is presenting differently than pneumonia from other viruses:
“patients are presenting with dangerously low oxygen levels and terrible pneumonia presenting on X-rays… Silent hypoxia progressing rapidly to respiratory failure explains cases of Covid-19 patients dying suddenly after not feeling short of breath.”
However, the doctor explains in this piece, “detecting silent hypoxia early through a common medical device that can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies: a pulse oximeter” would allow earlier detection of the pneumonia and therefore more immediate medical treatment.
My take away from these two articles is I can monitor myself in two ways. First, keep checking my sense of smell – loss of smell may occur even before other symptoms like fever, cough, upset stomach and fatigue appear. Should that happen, I need to quarantine myself (not just keep a physical distance) so I don’t pass on the virus.
Second, should I start showing symptoms I want to begin checking my blood oxygen saturation. This latter may be even more important than confirming the presence of the virus so a visit to the doctor may be warranted to make sure my oxygen saturation is checked. Since, as far as I know, oxygen saturation may not be checked except on hospital admission (which could be too late to escape a severe manifestation of COVID-19), that is something I will have to advocate vigorously for myself.
Just thought you might find these two tidbits worth stashing in the back of your mind. I’ll share anything else useful (and unusual) I may come across.