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Doctor recommends getting pulse oximeter to have handy if you test positive for COVID

A doctor says it can help you make the call about getting further treatment.

TAMPA, Fla. — If you test positive for COVID, you know you're supposed to quarantine and take care of yourself. 

But if your symptoms worsen, how do you know when you should get to the hospital?

Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer at WebMD, says you should have a pulse oximeter on hand. He says COVID, and of course other viruses and respiratory infections, are going to be around for a while and this is another tool to give you information. 

It can help you make the call about getting further treatment. 

"If you say you feel fine, because you can decompensate quickly, and your oxygenation on a pulse ox is 80 something, you need to go the ER because you're not doing well," Whyte said.

Whyte says most healthy people are at a 96, 97 or 98. When you get below 92, that's when you need to get care.

You get a pulse ox online or at your pharmacy for about $20. There are also ones made for kids that are smaller.