Updated: May 6, 2020
Think about the last time you visited your doctor for your annual physical. Now, remember that little device he clipped onto your finger? That's a pulse oximeter. Pulse oximetry is used to measure the oxygen levels in your blood, or in other words, how well the air we breathe in is traveling to the rest of your body.
Who should use it?
Although pulse oximeters are typically recommended to those who have conditions that affect oxygen levels, such as heart failure, asthma, pneumonia, etc., anyone can use a pulse oximeter. It's often used by those who have high-activity levels, as well as those who travel to high altitudes.
Lately, there's been a lot of talk about these devices due to COVID-19. This virus is known to lead to pneumonia, which lowers oxygen levels. That being said, finding pulse oximeters is becoming increasingly more difficult. It's important to note, however, that a pulse oximeter will not diagnose COVID-19. It is recommended to ask your doctor if keeping one in the at-home medicine cabinet is right for you.
What are the risks?
The devices use light to measure the oxygen levels, so there are factors that may interfere with the reading, such as nail polish, artificial nails, cold hands, and poor circulation. These can cause an incorrect reading. The probe, though unlikely, may also cause some irritation on the skin.
Where to Purchase One?
So now that you know a little bit more about the device, you're probably asking yourself, "Well, where can I get one?" As mentioned previously, many pulse oximeters have sold out during this pandemic, so keep an eye out for when they are restocked. Here is Beurer's Pulse Oximeter.
How to Understand the Results?
Please note that we, at Beurer, are not medical professionals. After thorough research, this is some useful information we gathered. Nonetheless, this is not to be taken as a substitute for medical advice.