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Will my oxygen saturation go back to where it was before I got sick?

I've been sick, will my oxygen saturation go back to where it was before I got sick?

I usually use oxygen when I'm exercising and pursed lip breathing when I'm just puttering around the house. At rest on room air, my oximeter will usually read 94. During this sickness (flu symptoms) my resting on room air is around 88. This has been for 3 days and I'm wondering if some people might get stuck here or some people might get back to where they were last week. I'd sooner be the latter. Any answers? Thanks!

  1. GeckoGal, I just found your question here. I'm glad you asked it about your low saturation during a possible flare. A couple months ago I let symptoms go on vacation, and my 02 dropped so badly the pulmonologist put me on overnight 02, and said to use it while exercising if it goes below 88. I didn't know this could be a symptom of an exacerbation that would go away later.

    I go in for a 6-minute walk in a couple weeks, my saturation had jumped back within my normal (no oxygen) levels a week after talking prednisone, and an antibiotic. It is good to know that I may be able to get off the night 02 after the new walk test. I thought once on the oxygen they'd keep me on it forever. I should have asked about a flare causing this. I could have saved myself some sleepless nights, and extra depression. Hope you continue to feel better.

    1. I went back to the pulmonologist a couple days ago to repeat the walk test. He said it was "much" better, and the lowest saturation was 90! I can't imagine there would be such a difference when six weeks ago I couldn't finish the first lap, and then dropped below 87 immediately. I need to wait to schedule the overnight oximetry test, and then would be okayed to go off night oxygen.

      I think being on three weeks of 200 mg daily Doxycycline was of help a few weeks ago. My CT scans look really bad with emphysema, but I guess this test indicated more moderate disease. I know that is for now, but quitting smoking six years ago really seemed to have given me a little more time before it progresses.

    2. Hi again twovillages and thanks so much for providing us with an update following your visit with the pulmonologist. Given the right treatment and amount of time passing, it's gratifying to know that your condition is improving under the care of your physician. You must feel very much encouraged with your progress! Keep up the good work!! Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

  2. Aloha all. Both my husband and I are better. I did make the appt to see the Pulm Dr and he put me on 15mg of Prednisone and another course of antibiotics after looking at an Xray and hearing where my saturation levels are. He indicates that it'll be 6 weeks or so before my sats are where they were before I was hit w the crud. (I've not been on o2 like this and I'm having bleeding nasal cavities. I'm using a herbal salve in my nostrils.)

    1. GeckoGal - it's wonderful to hear that you and your husband are both feeling better! I bet once you've finished the course of steriods and antibiotics, you'll be as good as new.

      The oxygen can be very drying to your nasal cavities; especially if you're not used to it. I would suggest an over-the-counter saline nasal spray along with the salve you're already using. It will hydrate your nasal passages and may help.

      Just an FYI - try to remember not to use a petroleum based product around your nose and lips when on oxygen.

      Lyn (moderator)

  3. Yesterday, I was surprised to see that my o2 level went back to where it was--in one day? Wild. I'm feeling much better and have an appt w my pulmonary doc (he's my only choice here) in a while. He thinks that Pulmonary Rehab is "Hoo-hah" so I'm looking for an online course. Any suggestions re that would be helpful. Aloha

    1. He GeckoGal - so good to hear your oxygen level has returned back to where it's supposed to be for you. Sometimes, a little bit of patience pays off big time. I thought you might find it helpful to look over this article on pulmonary rehabilitation: So many members in our community report positive results with pulmonary rehab. You can check out the availability of programs in your area or check out the local hospital or another physician who subscribes to the benefits of rehab.
      Please be sure to check back with us after you visit with your physician. Whether he believes in it or not, he may be familiar with programs in your area.
      Leon (site moderator)

  4. Thank you all for your answers. I've been to my primary care doc when this hit me after an emergency flight to be w family, but have been pretty down so didn't make appt. for the pulmonary doc but will do that today. (I've four more days on the antibiotics. I've not had any exacerbations before and, as my husband is coughing along w me, I didn't think the stress of seeing the pulmonary doctor would help.)

    1. Glad to hear you found everyone's responses helpful, GeckoGal! I hope you're able to make an appointment with your pulmonary doctor and get in to see them soon! Please keep us posted if you're able to see them! We're sending positive thoughts your way!! -Casey, Team

    2. That's good to know and you have been on top of it. I hope you and your hubby get to feeling better. It seems there are alot of bugs going around and you did see your primary.
      Let us know how you are doing and feel better soon.
      Janet (site moderator)

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