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How to use pulse oximeter correctly, step by step process

SpO2 oximeters show the percentage of oxygen concentration in the patient's blood. In several COVID 19 patients, it has helped in treatment by alerting low oxygen levels timely.

Health Desk Health Desk
New Delhi Updated on: April 27, 2021 15:49 IST
Pulse oximeter
Image Source : FREEPIK

Pulse oximeter

Given the rising number of COVID 19 cases in the country, there has been a surging demand for a pulse oximeter. Pulse oximeters are medical devices that monitor the oxygen level of a patient's blood and can be beneficial in alerting the healthcare worker if oxygen levels drop below the safe levels. In many coronavirus pulse oximeter's reading has helped in allowing rapid intervention. These devices have become essential in such a setting of the pandemic where a patient's blood oxygen levels require frequent monitoring. SpO2 oximeters show the percentage of oxygen concentration in the patient's blood.

According to several reports, a normal level of oxygen is usually 95% or higher. Some people with chronic lung disease or sleep apnea can have normal levels of around 90%. However, if your home SpO2 reading is lower than 90%, it is best to call your health care provider immediately.

How to use to correctly use pulse oximeter (step by step process)

  1. Make sure you don't have nail paints or henna on your finger.
  2. Make sure that your hands are at normal temperature, warm them a film if you feel they're cold.
  3. Rest and make your body relaxed before putting on the pulse oximeter.
  4. Place the pulse oximeter on your index or middle finger.
  5. Place your hand on your chest near your heart and try reducing hand movement 
  6. Keep the pulse oximeter on your finger for at least a minute, till the reading stabilises.
  7. Record the highest reading that flashes on the oximeter after it has established after 5 seconds.

Make sure that the finger fits well and the probe is not too tight (which would constrict the circulation) or too loose (may fall off or let other light in).

Related: Proning: How to increase oxygen level at home while waiting for help

Also read: Feeling breathless? Do THESE things to strengthen lungs and increase the oxygen level

Do not rely only on a pulse oximeter to assess your health condition or oxygen level. Always call for help early. Hypoxia worsens rapidly and needs emergency treatment. It is better to call someone trained than not to have help with a deteriorating patient.

Disclaimer: This content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. For more information, please consult a doctor.

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