All You Need To Know About Pulse Oximeters

Pulse Oximeter

Disclaimer: This article is only for informational purposes and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice.

The second wave of COVID-19 and the shortage of oxygen and medical beds continues to devastate India. As many COVID-19 positive patients face difficulty in breathing, people have been advised to buy a pulse oximeter for their homes.

According to data from the Union Health Ministry, 38,260 deaths were reported between April 1 and April 28. Within nine days, from April 20 to April 28, a total of 20,657 deaths were reported. The death count has crossed two lakhs and the daily death count crossed 3,000 for the first time.

Dr Devi Shetty of Narayan Health suggested that every family buys a pulse oximeter. It can be used to monitor a person’s oxygen saturation level. One that provides accurate readings can be the matter of life and death. The small device is attached to a person and measures a person’s oxygen saturation level.

All You Need To Know About Pulse Oximeters

What Is A Pulse Oximeter?

A pulse oximeter is a device that measures a person’s oxygen saturation level and can rapidly detect small changes in the oxygen level. The small device is commonly attached to a finger for a reading.

How Does Pulse Oximeter Work?

It passes small beams of light through the blood when clamped on a person’s finger. The oxygen amount in the blood is measured by measuring the changes of light absorption in oxygenated or deoxygenated blood.

How To Use The Pulse Oximeter

Using a pulse oximeter is relatively easy and should be done correctly so that a proper reading can be done.

  1. Ensure there is no nail paint or mehndi on your finger and that your hands are at a normal temperature.
  2. Rest for five minutes before taking a reading.
  3. Place the pulse oximeter on your index or middle finger and reduce your hand movement. Place your hand on your chest near your heart.
  4. Keep the device on your finger for at least a minute. Wait till the reading stabilizes.
  5. Record the highest reading that flashes on the display after it stabiles for five seconds.

What To Consider While Buying An Oximeter

  1. There are three types of pulse oximeters, fingertip, handheld, and fetal. The fingertip oximeter is preferred for home use, and the other two types are primarily used in hospitals.
  2. Pulse oximeters that also give heart readings are preferred. The price can range from 1,000 rupees to 5,000 or more. As long as the device gives an accurate reading, there is no need to buy an oximeter which costs more.
  3. Check reviews and certifications before buying a pulse oximeter to make sure it provides accurate readings. Checking the reviews and certifications can also assure a person about the quality of the device.

What Should A Person’s Oxygen Level Be?

95 per cent is considered to be the normal oxygen saturation level for healthy individuals. An oxygen level below 92 per cent indicates there is a deficiency in oxygen reaching the tissues in the body.

What Should Be Done If A Person Tests Positive For COVID-19?

Dr Devi Shetty said that the oxygen saturation level should be checked every six hours. After checking the level, a person should talk a six-minute walk and check their oxygen level again. If the level remains above 94 per cent, then there is no cause for concern. But, if the oxygen level declines then a doctor should be informed as soon as possible.