The newest necessity during these difficult covid times is the oximeter. With decreased oxygen levels indicating the severity of the disease, the oximeter is now in everyone’s shopping cart or orders. It is indeed a panic situation, which has also caused shortage and even hoarding of the product in between. But thankfully, this helped put the right message across, which is “Covid is serious”. Even though the device are kind of a sold-out product since the start of the second wave, a lot of us have not made the right decision in buying and using the pulse oximeter. Have we?
The concept of Oximeter
After mask, soap/ hand wash & sanitizer, oximeters have taken an important place in our homes, which is actually a device for measuring the oxygen concentration in the blood. The oxygen level helps in detecting the extent of coronavirus infection or its severity. The blood oxygen level indicates the amount of oxygen our blood cells, specifically, Red Blood Cells are carrying. The muscles, brain and other organs function with the continuous supply of oxygen.
- The normal range of oxygenation in our body is 95-100% between. Hence, the oximeter should display the SpO2 levels 95 to 100.
- Except for people having respiratory illnesses, the normal SpO2 level should not fall below 90, which indicates danger and the requirement of an external oxygen support.
How to buy the Correct Oximeter?
Dr Chinnadurai R., Lead Consultant – Critical Care, Aster RV Hospital suggests tips on how to use the oximeter properly and what to look before buying it. This newly introduced device in our routine, about which there is no prior knowledge has left people confused of its use.
Just like a general product purchase, one should keep in mind the following:
- Buy a Genuine brand
- Test for the normal working of the device
- Check that it is not faulty- If the oximeter shows SPO2 level more than 100
- Based on the type of oximeters available, fingertip pulse oximeter, handheld oximeter and fetal pulse oximeter, for home use, the fingertip pulse oximeter finds the most use.
Other useful features in Oximeter that could be helpful are:
- Clear display
- Durable material
- Look for Certified products complying with quality standards such as by FDA/ RoHS/ CE
- Guaranteed/ Warranted product
How to use the Oximeter Correctly?
The Oximeter device can detect small changes in how the oxygen is being carried in our body from the heart to all other organs. Using the oximeter is very simple; check the following steps-
- Rest before taking the reading
- Keep your hand on the chest at your heart level and stay
- Now, switch on the device and clip it on your middle or index finger
- Keep the oximeter in the same position for at least a minute or more till the reading comes out stable
- Note the highest reading attained within the time span, which remains stable for at least 5 seconds
- Repeat the process three times a day, preferably at the same times every day
How to Interpret the Oximeter Reading?
- The standard reading should be SpO2 95 and above. Go for medical help, if the reading is below 95;
- See that the reading is not decreasing that the measurements taken before;
- Bluish face, lips, nails, breathlessness, chest pain, racing pulse rate may also indicate low oxygen level. Note these too along with the oxygen levels;
The difference in the Reading: What not to do while using an Oximeter?
There are many factors that can cause a difference in the reading of an oximeter, which one needs to note such as:
- If the patient wearing Nail Paint or Pigment on Finger
- If there is a bright light on the probe
- If the patient is not well-rested: too much movement can interfere with the correct reading
- If there is blood Loss or Perfusion
- If the probe is dirty
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