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How To Use A Pulse Oximeter Correctly For Monitoring Oxygen Saturation?

Published On May 24, 2021, Updated On Jul 05, 2021

The second wave of COVID has been even more devastating than the first one with an increase in infections and their severity. Doctors have advised that every household must try and have a pulse oximeter to monitor the members constantly as and when needed. With the recent crisis of medical-grade oxygen, a pulse oximeter has become even more of a key device in everyone’s life. 

However, it is also important to know how to use a pulse oximeter correctly for monitoring oxygen saturation. Also, make sure to buy a good pulse oximeter from a reputed company. With the increase in demand, there has been a rise in manufacturers who are not always the best. While on one hand incorrect readings can lead to unnecessary panic, they can also be fatal at other times. 

What is Pulse Oximeter?

A pulse oximeter is a clip-on device that when attached to a part of your body (usually a finger on your hand), will tell you your pulse rate and the current oxygen saturation level of your body. Oxygen saturation levels tell us about the amount of oxygen that is being carried by the bloodstream of the individual. One of the biggest advantages of this device is that there is no need to draw blood to measure the oxygen levels. The normal oxygen saturation levels of your body should be between 95 to 100. Anything below 95 is of concern and if it falls below 93, you must seek immediate medical attention.

Steps to Use a Pulse Oximeter

You must know how to use a pulse oximeter correctly in order to avoid misreading. Here are the correct steps to use a pulse oximeter:

  1. Clean your hands and your nail (of nail polish and such) and warm your hands if they feel cold.
  2. Place your hands on a stable surface and rest for at least 5 minutes before you try to measure.
  3. Put your hand on your chest, at the level of the heart and hold still.
  4. Switch on the pulse oximeter and clip it on your index or middle finger.
  5. Wait for one minute at the least as the reading takes time to get steady. If the reading changes, take the highest reading once it stabilises for five seconds.
  6. For more accuracy, you may take more than one reading and see which one is the most frequent.

When to Call for Medical Attention?

Besides the fact that you must seek immediate medical attention if your oxygen levels fall below 92, here are some other cases that you should be mindful of. According to the regulations rolled out by the government, contact your doctor immediately if:

  • Extreme breathlessness to the point you cannot complete short sentences
  • Feeling nauseous, breathless and severely ill

Must Read: Can I Get The COVID-19 Vaccine If I Have Allergies?

How Long Will It Take To Build Immunity After Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine?

Take Away

With the severity of the infection being much worse in the second wave, the condition of the patients has been seen to deteriorate much faster. This is why a pulse oximeter has become even more important to help seek immediate medical attention. If you have any elderly family members or those who are ailing, you must have a pulse oximeter ready at all times and most importantly, know how to use it properly.

You May Also Read: Covid-19 Health Insurance

Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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