Home-Quarantined? Why And How to Take the Six-Minute Walk Test

The six-minute walk test can help a COVID+ patient decide whether they should isolate at home or get hospitalised.

2 min read

Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

With the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, hospital beds have become a scarcity with many who are in need not finding beds even in government hospitals.

At this juncture, therefore, it is important to know when you need to be hospitalised, even if you are COVID-positive. Everyone who has contracted the virus need not have to go to a hospital. It is possible to recover in home isolation.

But how do you make this decision? Well, an indicator can be the six-minute walk test.

What is the six-minute walk test?

The six-minute walk test is a walking test you can do at home, in isolation, to measure oxygen saturation in your blood and fluctuations in oxygen levels. If you pass this test, you can isolate at home and don’t need hospitalisation, according to doctors.

What do I need to take the test?

You can take the test while you're COVID-positive and isolating at home. You'll just need an oximeter and a timer of some sort. The test can be conducted in any area of your isolation room where there's a little open space to walk.

How do I take the test?

To conduct the test, follow the following steps:

  • Measure your oxygen levels using the oximeter and note down the reading.
  • Set your timer to six minutes.
  • Walk in your isolation room, at a brisk pace for six minutes.
  • After the six-minute walk, measure your oxygen level again using the oximeter and note down the reading.
  • Repeat the entire process 2-3 times a day, and note down the readings.

What after the test?

Your oxygen levels should remain somewhat the same even after the six-minute walk. If they drop by more than three to four points, consult your doctor. You may need to be hospitalised.

If your levels remain the same, then you can isolate at home.

Disclaimer: This is just a guide. Please consult your doctor for further questions.

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