‘Happy’ Hypoxia

It’s been reported that patients with Covid-19 are arriving into A&E with moderate symptoms but are severely hypoxic. People with hypoxia would normally be very ill.  Anyone with hypoxia must get emergency care as quickly as possible. If you have been on a first aid course recently you may remember talking about ‘hypoxia’. This is when there is insufficient oxygen in circulating blood depriving cells that need it to carry out normal but vital processes. There are several reasons someone may become hypoxic – respiratory illness is one of them.

Typical signs include:
• Pale, cold, clammy skin
• Increased pulse rate
• Increased breathing rate
• Grey-blue skin and lips (cyanosis)
• Headache
• Nausea/vomiting
• Feeling cold
As hypoxia is a life-threatening condition in itself it is really vital that we get anyone we suspect of having hypoxia checked out by medical professionals. For some reason Covid-19 is masking some of the traditional symptoms of hypoxia. People have reported feeling confused and having blue or purple lips.
If you suspect hypoxia Call 111/999** – do not take someone straight to hospital with suspected Covid-19.

**Use 111 online if you have:
• a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
• a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
The 111 online coronavirus service will ask about your symptoms and tell you what to do. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

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