Oxygen Levels: I am not sure this is... - British Lung Foun...

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Oxygen Levels


I am not sure this is the right place to post but I am worried and frightened. I have an anxiety disorder and I’m 35 years old.

I started 10 days ago with Covid symptoms after daughter and husband tested positive. I am now on an inhaler as I keep getting shortness of breath on movement. I have a pulse oximeter and am completely obsessed by checking my pulse now all day.

I got took to hospital on Friday and my ECG, chest X-ray were fine, just my infection markers were up.

I kept trying to walk around taking my oxygen levels which the Doctor told me to stop doing. When I take them at rest they seem to fluctuate slightly the lowest reading I had was 95% although it didn’t stay at 95%.

Im sorry if this is the wrong place to post I just have no-one to speak to and Im just sat looking at my levels all day in case I take a turn for the worse.

54 Replies

I think you should listen to that doctor, 95% oxygen reading with an oximeter, is really very good.

We get inflammation markers showing with any infection, its how the body fights infection.

Hopefully your symptoms will not get any worse than they already are but if you do feel you are deteriorating rapid in breathing, phone the emergency service.

You might want to familiarise yourself with the information on links below:



Wishing you a good recovery, make the most of your quarantine time, with rest and looking after yourself. But not too obsessive with the oximeter.

SpiritualT in reply to Bkin

Thank you for replying.

I am sat here in tears just waiting to deteriorate. Is it normal for them to fluctuate slightly. For example I go to the bathroom, come back and they will be 98% then go to 97% then to 96% then back up to 97%, 98% and sometimes 99% all in the space of a couple of minutes.

Bkin in reply to SpiritualT

Oh dear me, your oxygen levels are very good, why for goodness are you waiting to deteriorate? Just focus on 'you have very good oxygen levels', so while have them pointless waiting to deteriorate that will not help your mind body or spirit. Focus on wellness better.

And yes it is quite normal for oxygen levels to fluctuate as yours are, its only noticeable because you are not doing what the doctor suggested ie stop doing that (referring to take you oxygen levels so frequently).

Perhaps make a telephone appointment with you GP about your anxiety issue. It does sound like you need to manage this as priority.

Best wishes and feel better soon.

SpiritualT in reply to Bkin

What’s worrying me is when I move and come back. I sit at rest for a couple of minutes and they start to go down, the lowest was 94% and then they fluctuate between 95% and 98% when I’m sat at rest. I wasn’t sure if this was normal for them to fluctuate when not moving.

Bkin in reply to SpiritualT

yes normal, hope you are feeling much better in yourself now understanding you are doing ok.

SpiritualT in reply to Bkin

A little yes. I am coughing up sputum aswell and I am on antibiotics the past week I have just sat in fear.

Bkin in reply to SpiritualT

Perhaps as well as speaking with your GP to get your anxiety under control you may benefit from HU Anxiety and Support Forum.


mixmix in reply to SpiritualT


It’s completely normal. Anything over 95% is great. I’m an asthmatic and used to having my oxygen checked. It’s normal to go up and down.

It is your anxiety disorder which is out of control and I am not surprised with all of the hysterical media bombardment about covid which we are being subjected to.

Your oxygen levels are extremely good and there are many on this website who would long for them. Oxygen levels fluctuate within those degrees constantly and it is a useless waste of time to keep checking them.

Your anxiety level is likely to be more of a risk to you, your husband and child than covid would be to person of your age with no underlying health conditions.

I seriously suggest that you take the advice that you have already been given and seek help for your anxiety as soon as possible. Living with this level of fear when you don'r need to must be awful.

SpiritualT in reply to Littlepom

Thank you for your reply that is extremely kind. It is absolutely exhausting living with this level of fear everyday, honestly I am 35 years old with no underlying health issues and I feel like I am going to die every single day. I may aswell be dead because I don’t live a life like this.

I am having psychology at the moment but obviously isolating at home I cannot.

Caspiana in reply to SpiritualT

Hello 👋😁 Can you not get your psychiatry sessions online?

Tempo57 in reply to SpiritualT

Dear Spiritual T,

I feel for you because the Governments so called Civil Service ‘Scientists’, e.g., Witty et al, have put the fear into so many people over Covid that those like yourself, who already have an anxiety disorder, are being subject to even more stress. They have a lot to answer for IMO!

As others on here tell you, there is nothing wrong with your oxygen levels. You are young and your fear is needless. Switch off the news, (particularly the BBC’s doom and gloom), and your stress will ease.

Best wishes for calmer days ahead. T57

Hi spiritual IT I think your suffering from anxiety like you said listen to your doctor keep checking your oxgen level is not good. They do fluctuate . 95 is good if they drop below 88 then you can worry. Try not to check them best of luck.

SpiritualT in reply to Dilly2

Thank you. It’s because I’m coughing up sputum now and have pain in my chest and back.

95% is fine and as others have mentioned levels will fluctuated even changing fingers/hands will change the reading. I have had oxygen assessments to see if I needed oxygen, at home and passed O/K even though at times my resting level is lower than 95%.

I’d pop your little machine away in a drawer & just try get on with your day. It will be a bit challenging not to get it out for a while but as the others have said, your oxygen levels are good.

Seriously I understand anxiety and how debilitating it can be..my life used to be ruled by my weight and what the scales said...I’d stand on them a billion times a day& my day and mood was determined by what they said. Obviously it’s totally different but when I stopped standing on the scales they stopped ruling my life...a bit like if your sats machine.

SpiritualT in reply to madonbrew

Yes I understand.

I am just frightened because I have been on antibiotics now for 7 days and am now coughing up green sputum. I am only 35 and cannot even walk to the bathroom without being breathless.

Troilus in reply to SpiritualT

Hi Spiritual. If your cough doesn’t improve soon, just let your GP know. He might ask you to submit a sputum sample just to identify an antibiotic that will work better.

It is not unusual to get an aches and pains in your ribs when you have a bad cough. This tends to be muscular and will go as you cough less. You are just using those muscles a little harder than usual.

As for your oxygen levels, they are absolutely fine.

SpiritualT in reply to Troilus

Thank you. This has been the most frightening last 10 days of my life.

Troilus in reply to SpiritualT

I can understand that SpiritualT. Chest infections can be nasty and when they are they can be very worrying. Your mind can go into overdrive. You add to that monitoring oxygen levels when no one has explained what is normal, just adds to the worry. And if are already suffer with anxiety, then that can easily spiral.

Be reassured by what people have said, but if your chest doesn’t clear give your GP a ring, let him know it hasn’t shifted and ask if he thinks you need another course of antibiotics. Whatever you have got will be doing the rounds, so he will be in a good position to know what to do next.

SpiritualT in reply to Troilus

I think because my husband and daughter were positive for Covid and now I have all the symptoms and the Doctor said that’s what I have that’s why I am so frightened because I know what Covid can lead to.

Troilus in reply to SpiritualT

Have you had a test SpiritualT?

SpiritualT in reply to Troilus

I had 3 negative tests. The Doctor said that up-to 30% are false negatives so disregard the test result and taking into account my symptoms and my husband and daughter being positive take it as I have Covid.

Troilus in reply to SpiritualT

Hmmm... very reassuring 🥴

I suppose the correct answer is you probably didn’t have it when tested. 3 out of 3 negative tests say negative to me, but I suppose living with two people who have tested positive there is a high chance you might catch it.

I can see why you are very worried. I hope you don’t mind but I checked your profile and see you have sinus tachycardia, so I can see why you are taking this very seriously.

My original advice still applies, but perhaps more so. If your chest doesn’t clear get back to your GP.

It might be an idea under the circumstances to ask about your oxygen levels - not that there is anything wrong with them at the moment, but ask what exactly you should be looking out for and under what circumstances should you ring 999.

At least then you will know exactly what to do. You may never reach that stage of course, but at least you will have a plan, which in itself can be reassuring.

SpiritualT in reply to Troilus

I understand regarding the tests, I thought the same, but he said the symptoms I have had for the last 10 days which started after my husband and daughter tested positive are a pretty good indicator. He told me someone tested negative even though it was showing as Covid on the X-ray so I think some of the tests are coming back as false negatives.

Yes I do have sinus tachycardia.

I have asked at what point do I start to head to hospital and he said when I'm consistently at 92%/93% at rest.

Troilus in reply to SpiritualT

I don’t know if you want to post under a different heading Spiritual T. When I saw your post I thought it was simply about oxygen levels, which seemed to have been addressed. I think others will feel the same and may not read on.

Really your question is about Covid. Maybe something like Dr says I have Covid will get more useful responses. There are people on here who have had it and recovered - all of them with underlying lung conditions. It might be useful to also post on the Heart Foundation site, as there could well be people there with the same underlying condition who have also had it.

As your GP has given you specific instructions with regard to your oxygen levels, the ignore the above advice about stopping and carry on 😊

I have just read on, and see you have been given salbutomol. You can take it more often than 2 puffs every two hours. In an emergency you can take 10, leaving one minute in between. If I am not good I will take two, wait 20 minutes and take another two.

The effects of salbutomol lasts four 4 hours hence the two puffs every 4 hours, but you can take it more frequently if it helps. If you do that, you need to keep a note of how much you are taking, what symptoms you are having to cause you to take it, and what effect it has. When you speak with your GP, let him know. It may help him to tailor your treatment.

As others have said your O2 levels are fine, but breathlessness can be frightening.

The BLF have a helpline , open during office hours on 03000 030 555.

I would give them a ring .

Also I was wondering what inhaler you were given , and how much you are taking.

I would also ring your health centre now and explain how you feel, your breathlessness, green sputum and your worries . Or ring 111.

Please ask for help today.

SpiritualT in reply to knitter


The inhaler I was given is Salbutamol I am taking it four times a day.

I have just spoken to the Covid 111 line and spoke to a Doctor. He said at the moment I am okay to try and manage at home with my oxygen levels.

I am on Azithromycin antibiotics and my chest X-ray on Saturday was clear. I was given instructions if my SAT level goes to 92%ish to give them a ring back.

Hi i understand exactly what you going through...i was exactly the same 4 years ago after a bad chest infection my 02.level was 92%

Im 38 with no helth problems.

I think looking after your helth is good as well checking your temperature spo2 etc.

If you do check your spo2 don't do it when walking unless you have a hospital type device readings will be unreliable

My spo2 is 97 % but when im running 20k drops to 94 %...im not overly worried

I think many members of this forum can relate to your anxiety over your breathing. To be honest it does not matter if the condition is short or long term the fears can appear very real. There are problems using pulse oximeters they are not that accurate but very useful as part of an assessment. Readings do vary depending on what you do and as long as they are over 92% there is very little to worry about. Sadly your anxiety could make your situation worse. The best thing to do is to take four readings a day and for the rest of the day put your oximeter in a cupboard and ignore it. My own now only comes out once a week or if I get chest infection symptoms. I hope you feel better soon in these worrying times.

I would be really happy with that reading. I think maybe you should listen to the doctor and try to focus on something else. I know its hard when we are hearing about it morning noon and night. Bkin has given you really good advice so please try not to worry so much . Don't forget its normal to get coughs and colds this time of year.

Hi SpiritualT,

I can understand how frightened you must feel, but I'm sure the doctors would have tested you for covid in light of your husband and daughter testing positive, and would have let you come home if you had it, they in return are probably not now infectious, apparently it only a few days, if you are still worried organise a test for you, to put your mind at rest. Keep us updated, and hope you'll feel better soon x


Hi SpiritualT. I'd just like to reassure you that you're not alone with regards to your symptoms.

At the beginning of 2018, I suffered with respiratory symptoms very similar to yours. I considered myself to be a very fit and healthy individual, running 10k a day, going to the gym etc. I'd been quit smoking for 4 years, and this was pre covid-19. All of a sudden, within minutes, I developed SOB symptoms, that unfortunately lasted for nearly 18 months. I had a myriad of tests, several x rays, spirometry, full lung function tests, CT scan, different inhalers etc. Still currently under a respiratory specialist, but hoping to be discharged next appt. I was eventually diagnosed with asthma, although how accurate this diagnosis was, I couldn't tell you, all I know is I had inflammation of the lungs.

In the first 3 months of it starting, I was at my gp every other day, at A and E every other day, I even rang for an ambulance on a few occasions. I couldn't breath, but its as though no one believed me, or knew how bad it was. I too suffered with pain in my chest and back. Im not sure if thats from trying so hard to breathe, or from the actual inflammation. I was constantly googling my symptoms, I convinced myself I had COPD. I was certain of it. Before all of this, my SPo2 was at a consistent 99-100%, during this, it was 93-95%, it never went higher. I was also diagnosed with Human Coronavirus HKU1. Whether this had anything to do with my symptoms, I don't know. It was an extremely worrying and depressing 18 months, but it gradually and very, very slowly got better. Im just about back to my former self, touch wood. Im not by any means trying to scare you, or anything like that. Its just your experience sounds a lot like mine, and I'd like to reassure you,l that you will get better.


That green gunk needs testing to make sure you are on the right antibiotic. Hope the wise comments posted here help to reassure you. Best wishes, Alberta

95% at rest is very good. I am a oxygen user I walk and sleep on it my sats at rest are 92% but drop to 88 on walking. Just take deep breaths it will stay up

Hi SpiritualT ....have you tried meditation ....exceptionally helpful for anxiety ...Calm app is fantastic ....maybe worth a try ...hope you feel well soon 😊

Hi SpiritualT. I would be the same as you. I know it's hard but try to stop testing yourself. Just find something to do that takes your mind off of it. I would probably busy myself with some sewing or scrapbooking!

I'm a nightmare when I feel tight chested for constantly checking my pulse on my fitness watch. But I then get myself more and more worked up until I'm having a panic attack. I've had to try and learn to take my mind away from the worry so I don't make myself worse.

I can't imagine how hard that must be knowing your family have covid and just waiting. I'm bad enough when the kids come home with a snotty nose because I know I will have a chest infection from it.

I hope your negatives are correct and you can focus on looking after your family and spending some time together in quarantine. xx

95% is fine dont worry. I used to have 2 oximeters one on each hand at one time. Stopped all that. You can get your oxygen levels up by concentrating on your breathing. In slowly thro nose then with pierced lips exhale very slowly thro mouth. You are most probably suffering an anxiety attack this can cause a panic attack so you need to slow heartbeat down

You cant die from a panic attack. And your oxygen levels are OK. They wouldn't admit you to hospital with that reading. Keep calm. 😤😤🙌💕xxSheila

You have to share your problem it does not matter if you have come to the right or wrong place.

Ihope you find peace

95% at rest is fine. That was my norm for about 7 years. Now my norm is 91%.

I'm not surprised you are worried though. The media don't help. On the news they said Donald Trump was given oxygen when his saturation level dipped to 95.%. Well I take that as fake news. No one gets oxygen when there levels are that high.

I suffered a bad infective flare up of my condition in late August my oxygen went to 76%. I had oxygen for a very short while. The hospital were happy for my level to be 88%. So really at 95% you are fine.

As with any infection, keep as calm as you can, drink plenty, eat a little of what you fancy and rest when you can.

Be warned I’m going to go off on one.

I can partially understand your anxiety about your sats tho at that percentage you have little to worry about, I would love my sats to be that, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Your husband and daughter need you to be you not staring at an oximeter all day.

I’m currently in hosp with sats of 87 and that’s with 7l oxygen being pumped into me. Now that’s a problem


SpiritualT in reply to judes

I have been extremely poorly for 10 days. Its not that I am just sat here staring at an Oximeter for no reason.

I am sorry for your situation but no need to go off on one as you state just because my situation doesn’t mirror yours.

You don’t know about my suffering for the last few years so please dont be judgmental.

95% is within normal limits- don’t panic as stress can really make things worse. Take care

Thank you I am trying.

Please, please don’t over think the oxygen levels , my husband uses supplementary oxygen but he is oxygen sensitive ie he can take in the oxygen but cant always expel all the co2 ( which has put him in hospital in a very serious condition before now) To be safe his levels need to be between 88 and 92 and he copes very well at that level You levels are normal and it is normal for them to fluctuate. I don’t suffer from anxiety but I would be very frightened if I had covid , all you can do is take the advice you ve been given and try to stay calm I’m sure you’ll be fine before long 😊 xx

Thank you. Its mentally been one of the worst weeks of my life. I am trying to stay positive.

I have been over thinking the oxygen levels a lot.

How you’re reacting is only natural - most of us would be anxious in your situation - but it doesn’t help does it ? In your situation I would focus my thoughts on the weeks ahead , think about the coming weeks when you’re well and enjoying life with your family , positive thoughts make an enormous difference . Keep as busy as you can ( given how you’re feeling right now) if you can’t keep busy read a good book , watch a good film just don’t let those fears take over ! You’ll be feeling better soon just keep reminding yourself of that 😊xx


Your readings are very good and you should really chuck that oximeter in the bin.

Speak to your doctor and i am sure he/she will be able to help with the anxiety.

Stay safe..

Im only using it whilst I have Covid. I was told to monitor them by my Doctor. My husband has a pacemaker who also had Covid so we needed to monitor his also.

Your in the right place as we all get worried and panic sometimes especially as it’s new to you infact reading other people’s stories is the best tonic I’ve had as one ceases to feel alone and can find great advice. All I can suggest is relaxation breathing exercises as concentrating on each slow breath in and out with every move such as in Pilates has a way of calming and slowing one down. Rest, relax if you can you deserve it as you have been through a lot xx

95 oxygen is good

I’m on oxygen 24/7 and my levels are 94 on oxygen so I don’t think you have to much to worry about

Remember your oxygen will drop as you have infection in your lungs

I would rest and try and relax stop doing your oxygen levels as that is stressing you out more

Keep using inhaler as advised and rest relax and let your body heal

I hope you recover soon from from this terrible illness

I also have anxiety attacks.

I can begin to obsessively worry as well. I try to "change the channel" in my mind. Clean out your purse,

A kitchen drawer, anything. It seems to help me. ( along with Lexapro) haha

Your oxygen levels are fine if they are within the range of 93% to 100%.

I have a lung condition and so mine is usually around 97% when I get up in the morning and drop to 94% to 95% when I am seated at rest during the day.

Depending on what I am doing my level will go up to 98% to 99% when I am active and start to drop as soon as I stop what I am doing and sit down.

If your level drops to 92% or below then you should speak to a doctor.

It’s an awful thing anxiety your not thinking rationally and nothing or no one will be able to convince you that u are going to be fine. If I was you I speak to my GP and tell him about it u may need medication to help u. A lot of people are more anxious now with the coronavirus Take care

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