iSteve commenter Jack D on the next thing to stock up on:
I saw the doctor who recommended pulse oximeters on one of the morning shows today. He said that people were coming in to the emergency room with 50% oxygen readings, which are equivalent to being on the top of Mt. Everest, but felt no shortness of breath. (Normal readings are 95%+ and generally you should receive supplemental oxygen if you are below 90%). They had been told “don’t go to the hospital unless you feel short of breath.” He couldn’t believe that these folks were even standing with such low readings but they were. He thought what was happening was that people’s bodies were gradually acclimating to the lack of oxygen so they didn’t notice it. By the time they came in, their lungs were badly damaged and most of them died despite being ventilated.
Hopefully by next winter most older people will have oximeters and will know to come in to the hospital (or be prescribed oxygen at home) long before they are down to unsustainable levels of blood oxygen. Or else there will be some quick and dirty method of guesstimating oxygen starvation even without an oximeter. Or else, for anyone who is over 65 or has risk factors, they will be prescribed oxygen as a standard treatment when they show symptoms of Wuhan Virus – there’s no harm in getting a little extra oxygen for a few days until you feel better.
Which leads me to believe that they are wasting their time furiously building respirators [ventilators?] right now and should be building oxygen concentrators and lots of oxygen tanks. Of course when the next wave hits, these will be in short supply. If you are not familiar, an oxygen concentrator is a device that separates oxygen from the air (actually what it does is it removes nitrogen from the air so what is left over is mostly oxygen) . Most are about the size and shape of a dehumidifier – you just plug it in and it outputs enough oxygen for one person. If you want to travel, it can fill an oxygen bottle for portable use but when you’re home you just hook your oxygen line directly to it. The advantage over bottled oxygen is that you never run out as long as you have power and you don’t need to get constant deliveries. If you are a serious prepper you may want to get yours now because you won’t be able to get one later.
How about a CPAP machine for sleep apnea? I’ve heard conflicting advice.