Health experts are globally warning people about the severe risk and complications involved among the patients who are suffering from COVID-19, and are with dangerously low oxygen levels.
During all these times, Pulse Oximeter is the most talked-about device that can help patients monitor their oxygen levels at home. It prompts them to seek out help sooner. This device is being called as important as a thermometer because it helps in diagnosing a problem before it gets any worse.
It is being used as a go-to gadget during the pandemic when the health experts stand divided on whether people should be encouraged to buy a pulse oximeter for home use or not.
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the oximeter and how to use it.
What is a pulse oximeter?
The pulse oximeter is also called pulse ox and is a non- invasive device that is used to calculate the amount of oxygen in the blood. It is a small device that looks like a clip and you just have to press the clip and place your finger inside it, within a few seconds it gives your readings clearly.
95 to 99 per cent is the reading of oxygen in most of the healthy people.
How does it work?
It works by sending infrared light into the capillaries in your finger. It measures how much light is reflected off the gases. Therefore it helps in showing the reading of the percentage of the saturated blood, called SpO2 levels.
They also show the heart rates and are designed in such a way that the person sitting in front of you can see your readings, so a reading of 99 may appear 66 to you.
The index finger is most commonly used to take the readings. So, in case, the patient is right-handed then, he or she can use the middle finger of his right hand and if you are left-handed, use the left middle finger.
Accuracy of a pulse oximeter
People might have a doubt about the accuracy of a pulse oximeter and may have trust issues with it. Pulse oximeter gives you a 98 per cent accurate result and has an error window of only 2 per cent. This means that the oxygen levels in the blood can be 2 per cent above or below the readings shown by the oximeter.
Is oximeter easy to use?
The pulse oximeter is quite easy to use device. That is why doctors rely on it so much. It is very much useful for patients who are in home isolation and do not have doctors around them.
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Can external factors affect oximeter reading?
Some external factors do affect the oximeter reading, like extremely cold weather, or putting dark nail paint on nails can give a false reading.
Should you invest in a pulse oximeter?
It is a very good idea why you should invest in a pulse oximeter, though it totally depends on the personal choice of the individual and the health conditions of the patient. It also depends on how much access you have to a medical expert during the pandemic. For this, you can contact your family physician about getting a pulse oximeter.
How often should you take your readings?
It depends on the health conditions of the patient, as the doctor prescribes you to how often you should check your oxygen levels. It is a painless process which is the best part about it. In general; readings can be taken twice a day, every hour, based on your health conditions.
What are the normal oxygen levels?
The normal oxygen levels are: The normal SpO2 level is between 95 to 100 percent.
Below normal: A reading below 95 is considered to be below normal. If your reading comes below 95, you should talk to your doctor immediately.
Above normal: It quiet unlikely that if you are breathing unassisted, your oxygen levels will be more than normal.