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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!


Community Answers
  • twovillages
    2 years ago

    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.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi twovillages and thanks for sharing your own experiences with your flare-up, medication treatment and planned walk test. Stay optimistic and keep up the good work! Please do check back with us and let us know how you’re doing. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    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)

  • twovillages
    2 years ago

    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.

  • GeckoGal author
    2 years ago

    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.)

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    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.

    Regards,
    Lyn (moderator)

  • GeckoGal author
    2 years ago

    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

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    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: https://copd.net/living-with-copd/pulmonary-rehab/. 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.
    Warmly,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • GeckoGal author
    2 years ago

    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.)

  • Janet Plank moderator
    2 years ago

    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)

  • Casey Hribar moderator
    2 years ago

    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, COPD.net Team

  • Janet Plank moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi GeckoGal, I’m sorry you have been sick. We aren’t able to diagnose, however, we can offer suggestions. With resting air at 88%, that does signal a problem.You maybe having an exacerbation. How are your O2 sats on oxygen? Does it drop more when you are up and about while on oxygen? When calling your doc, talk to the nurse, let her know about your decrease in O2 sats and see if their recommendation is for you to where oxygen between now and when you see your doctor. Because sats at 88% and below, oxygen is recommended. Have you seen your doctor? Since you’ve noticed a decrease in your oxygen leveI, I would call and make an appt. You may need to be put on steroids, maybe and antibiotic. Your doctor is the one to determine that. Once you are on medications, if recommended by your doc, when your health improves your oxygen should go back to “your” normal. I say “your” normal, because we are all different. Do call your doc and get in to see him/her. Please let us know how you are doing and what you find out.
    Best Wishes, Janet (site moderator)

  • Janet Plank moderator
    2 years ago

    GeckoGal, I am just reading Lyn’s response to you. It sounds like we are both very different in our responses. Please don’t let that worry you. You know where your health is at this time. You should also have a sense that tells you to go to doc or wait. If you have a sense to go to doc, do go.
    With me, and the other health issues I have, it’s difficult to tell if I do have the flu, or maybe something else is wrong. It never fails, when I do go in, I shouldn’t have waited and end up in longer higher doses of medication for exacerbations. That is why, if you think that its your lungs that are an issue, do go to doctor.
    Here is a link on exacerbations that may help you.

    https://copd.net/basics/acute-exacerbations/

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi GeckoGal,

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been ill. This is a nasty flu that’s going around, so it’s no wonder you’re feeling poorly.

    In most cases once a sickness has run it’s course and you’re back to normal, your saturation levels will also even out. If your norm was 94%, there’s no reason to think you won’t get back to that point when you’re healthy again.

    Try not to be too impatient – it may take a little longer than you think it should. In fact, I would suggest that unless you’re feeling short of breath and have an overwhelming urge to check it, you should just leave your pulse ox in a drawer for a day or two.

    Feel well soon!

    Regards,
    Lyn (moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi GeckoGal and thanks for posting your inquiry. I see that both Janet and Lyn have provided some feedback that is all good.
    Keep in mind that coming down with the flu (in conjunction with having COPD) can certainly temporarily compromise your oxygenation levels and lung function. As Lyn has said, once you’ve recuperated completely from the flu, there is no reason to think that your oxygen levels will not return to what they normally are for you. Only time will tell. Depending on how you feel once you’ve fully recovered, you may not even need to see your physician for follow-up. Lyn is correct too – try to remain patient and go easy on yourself until you’re back to your normal state of health.
    Please do keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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