With COVID-19 cases surging in the State, the Maharashtra health department is asking those with COVID-19 symptoms to test functioning of lungs by take a ‘six minute walk’ test. The department has asked district administrations to spread awareness of the test which can be conducted at home. It may be noted that this is not a diagnostic test for COVID-19.
According to the directions, individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 will have to check their oxygen level using an oximeter before beginning the test. The individual will then have to walk for six straight minutes, without stopping, on an even surface keeping the oximeter attached to a finger. After six minutes, if the oxygen level does not fall, the individual is considered healthy.
“There is no need to worry if oxygen level falls down by one or two percent. In such cases, a similar exercise should be repeated twice a day to keep vigil,” said an official. He added that if the oxygen level falls below 93 or by 3% or if the individual is suffering from breathlessness, then the person is advised to get admitted to the hospital.
The test is not advised for those with asthma. Those aged above 60 years can undertake the test by walking for three minutes instead of six.
The State health department’s Principal Secretary Dr. Pradeep Vyas, in a meeting with the district administration, had made a suggestion to create awareness of the test. It will help to detect oxygen deficiency and may help people come to the hospital at the right time, Dr. Vyas is reported to have said at the meeting.
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