Covid second wave: Young patients in the grip of ‘Happy Hypoxia’

Pune: The second Covid wave has infected several young populations (0-25 years), unlike the first outbreak. Young people are noting lung infections and undergoing “Happy Hypoxia”, a situation where the victim does not know that their blood oxygen status is low and continues with their everyday activities. According to medical specialists, non-regular monitoring of oxygen saturation statuses in these cases could cause death also as the drop could be too steep and youngsters would not realize because of their high immunity and health.

The normal oxygen saturation in the bloodstream of a healthy individual is above 95 percent, but these cases could show a dangerous decline of as little as 40% and would require immediate oxygen support and in critical cases, ventilators as well.

Dr. Kapil Zirpe, a member of the city and district Covid-19 task force and head of department, critical care at Ruby Hall Clinic, announced that patients with mild and serious symptoms show “Happy Hypoxia”.

“Some sufferers who are at home also show a severe drop of oxygen levels which is familiar in this condition,” said Dr. Zirpe.

Dr. Dnyaneshwar Mote, a member of the Pune city Covid task force for Social Action, said that at least 10 percent of sufferers showing “Happy Hypoxia” will need critical care.

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“This condition is seen in patients with mild indications or who are asymptomatic. They may not show symptoms of breathlessness, but their SPO2 (blood oxygen saturation) levels are dangerously low. This can worsen the Covid symptoms and damage lungs harshly,” said Dr. Mote.

He said patients should regularly monitor the oxygen levels in the blood.

“If they see a drop in oxygen, they must contact their physician shortly and manage for a bed before symptoms get terrible. Patients who are treated in time can recover fast with little lung damage in Covid,” said Dr. Mote.

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