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How to use pulse oximeter properly to get accurate blood oxygen SpO2 readings – step by step process

Given the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country, there has been a surging demand for a pulse oximeter. You have probably seen a lot of pulse oximeters available in the market offline or online. But before using it, you need to know actually what it is, and how you will use it.

Let’s get started about it.

What is a pulse oximeter?

Pulse oximetry generally one kind of medical device that is a test used to measure the oxygen level (oxygen saturation) of the blood. Besides that, it also helps to measure the normal heart rate. It is an easy, painless measure of how well oxygen is being sent to parts of your body furthest from your heart, such as the arms and legs.

The importance of the oximeter tool

Pulse oximeters are medical devices that monitor the oxygen level of a patient's blood, and it can be beneficial for the healthcare worker if oxygen levels drop below the safe levels. Now it has become an important tool for citizens to understand health status, especially for Covid patients.

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.

At the same time, it is crucial to follow the right procedure to get accurate blood oxygen readings. So now we are going to given you a step-by-step guide to getting accurate blood oxygen readings on your body.

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

Step 1: Remove any nail polish/false nails & warm your hand if cold.

Step 2: Rest for at least 5 minutes before taking your measurement.

Step 3: Rest your hand on your chest at heart level & hold it still.

Step 4: Switch on the oximeter & place it on your middle or index finger.

Step 5: The reading takes time to steady, Keep the oximeter in place for at least a minute or longer if the reading is not stable.

Step 6: Record the highest result once it has not changed for 5 seconds.

Step 7: Identify each reading carefully.

Step 8: Start recording from baseline & record three times a day at the same time. Take extra measures if you feel a change in your health.

Step-by-step guidelines on how to use the pulse oximeter by the Indian Government:

Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan recently shared a video that explains some things one needs to keep in mind before using an oximeter:

  • Rest for 10-15 mins before taking measurements.
  • Rest a hand on the chest and hold still.
  • Place the oximeter on the middle or index finger.
  • Keep it in the same place till the reading is stable.
  • Register the highest result once the reading has been stabilized.
  • Identify the reading carefully.
  • Start recording from the baseline and record thrice a day unless you notice any changes in your health.
  • Consult a medical professional in case of breathlessness or dip in oxygen levels to 93 percent or less.

Finally, we would like to say in one word, do not rely on just one pulse oximeter to determine your health condition or oxygen level. If a patient feels any illness, call for help as soon as possible.

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