How to use Pulse Oximeter at Home

What is a Pulse Oximeter?

A pulse oximeter is a non-invasive used to measure the oxygen saturation and heart rate of a person. In basic terms, it tells us how much oxygen is present in our blood. It is a small chip-like device put on a person’s finger to get oxygen saturation. In some cases, at the toe or an earlobe.

Why Should You Use Pulse Oximeter?

In the current global pandemic, the rapidly evolving situation around the virus, it is good to get a home treatment of COVID-19 when feasible; this will enable the doctor to focus on the mass population who needs them urgently. Even the Central government shared the guidelines to use Pulse Oximeter; this will assist them in noticing whether they require hospitalization or not.

Common Cases that Require an Oximeter 

An oximeter is a must-buy device for those who are facing regular breathlessness; the instrument will let them know what amount of oxygen they are lagging with and further should they consult or not. 

The blood oxygen level can be affected in several cases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, COVID-19, pneumonia, lung cancer, anemia, heart attack or heart failure, congenital heart defects. 

The patient suffering any of these should get a Pulse Oximeter at home.

How to use a pulse oximeter effectively?

  • Doctors recommend taking a rest for 10-15 mins before checking oxygen level.
  • Put oximeter in middle finger or index finger (on the nail side).
  • Keep the hand still, do not shake the finger; this may lead to inappropriate measurement.
  • Keep track of the measure, and finally note the highest result when the reading is stabilized.
  • Identify each recording carefully.
  • Start recording from baseline and record three times a day at the same time.

How to read a pulse oximeter

Once all the values are noted, we must understand what the given values represent. If the reading says 97%, 3% of blood cells have depleted oxygen values.

For a healthy human facing no breathlessness, pulse oximeter reading lies between 95-100%.

When the pulse oximeter reading lies between 90-95%, the individual should consult a doctor. 

The case can be critical if the pulse oximeter reading is less than 90%; the patient must be taken to a doctor. This is how to read oximeter:

Factors affecting Pulse Oximeter Readings

A Finger pulse oximeter is a helpful device, even though there are a few limitations of the reading it measures. 

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Factors that disturb readings of finger oximeter:

Lights in the surrounding: While operating the device, it is necessary to cover the sensors of the oximeter from the surrounding lights.

Skin pigmentation: Dark skins absorb the light produced by oximeter than light skin, so it is generally recommended to find a spot where there is bright pigmentation. Even the test should not be conducted with hands dyed, and fingers nail polished.

Finger or hand movement: It is an essential controllable factor, the test should be conducted where the person could relax, and not much of an activity is required. Oximeter values are sensitive to movement. Therefore you must look for the best oximeter in your sight.

Low blood volume: The lack of blood value prevents the sensors from reading the accur

Presence of Carbon Monoxide (CO): Carbon Monoxide in blood slightly affects the accuracy since the device faces difficulty distinguishing between Caron Monoxide and Oxygen.

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How to use a pulse oximeter?

A pulse oximeter is a small chip-like device put on a person’s finger; the person has to keep his finger static for a few seconds and measure the values when the readings stabilize.


Do we need a pulse oximeter?

A pulse oximeter is mean to measure oxygen saturation. It is a device that will give us the reading, but in the current pandemic havoc wrecked worldwide with evolving COVID-19, it is wise to suggest having an oximeter at home. If you are breathless, you will get to know how urgently you need a doctor or if the breathing suffocation is normal.

What causes inaccuracy in pulse oximeter?

Pulse oximeters sometimes give inaccurate measurements due to a few factors like; the skin color of the region where the device has to be set up. The low volume makes it difficult for the Oximeter to measure the values. Carbon Monoxide in blood makes it difficult for the Oximeter to get the deals since both cannot differentiate between Carbon Monoxide and Oxygen.

What is the typical value range for a pulse oximeter?

The average range value of pulse oximeter varies between 95-100%.

Can oxygen levels be correctly measured at home?

If one uses a suitable oximeter, one could measure oxygen level with reasonable accuracy.

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