Monitor your blood oxygen saturation and pulse rate at home with a pulse oximeter. This article deals with the various kinds of oximeters that can be utilized at home.

Oximeters For Home Use

You have a sick person to look after at home. Or you are looking after a person dealing with a chronic illness. Or probably, you are one of those athletes who are undergoing intense training to compete in the upcoming athletic games. What’s common amongst all these three circumstances is that you need to constantly monitor the pulse rate and check out any risks of chronic respiratory and cardiac illnesses that can occur anytime. Most of these conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and chronic heart failure (CHF) require immediate medical attention. However, you can observe them at home as well. Wondering how? Here’s where an oximeter enters. It is a medical device that makes a note of the oxygen saturation of a patient’s blood and even highlights any changes in the blood volume of the skin. So, there you are. You do not have to hire a professional or visit the medical center time and again to make note of your blood oxygen saturation and pulse rate. With a pulse oximeter at home, you can carry out this activity easily and conveniently without anyone’s help. Check out the different kinds of pulse oximeters available in the market to suit your comfortability.
Types Of Pulse Oximeters
Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
A fingertip pulse oximeter is characterized by a tiny computer and screen that easily fits onto a person’s finger. This pulse oximeter, when clipped onto the finger, emits light from one side while measuring the same light from the other side. The computer, in turn, measures the light from several pulses and indicates the person’s blood-oxygen level on the screen. A fingertip oximeter is one of the easiest and convenient machines to use at home. However, this oximeter has one disadvantage. If the person’s hand is damaged or is suffering from slow blood flow due to a clot or injury, the device may not be able to give an accurate reading. In some cases, the device may not even work.
Wrist Pulse Oximeter
An improvized version of fingertip pulse oximeter, a wrist pulse oximeter looks like a watch and is very comfortable to use. Simply slide your hand in it as you would wear a watch while the sensor is slid on a finger. Both the components are connected with a small wire. These devices are extremely useful for keeping a continuous check on blood-oxygen levels and hence, are most popular in sleep centers. Nonetheless, they can be used at home as well with patients who require constant monitoring of their health. They provide the advantage of storing readings of up to 24 hours which can later be downloaded on a computer and analyzed accordingly.
Handheld Pulse Oximeter
Similar to a fingertip pulse oximeter, a handheld pulse oximeter is often found in hospitals. While a fingertip pulse oximeter has a computer and screen attached to its surface, a handheld pulse oximeter has a more versatile clip that is connected through a cord to the computer. The hemoglobin level of the blood is measured through light, similar to a fingertip pulse oximeter. This device is clipped to the patient’s fingertip or earlobe. It is highly beneficial when a patient’s extremities are compromised and are unable to give accurate blood flow readings. This device, when attached, becomes very close to the brain and hence, helps in giving correct measurements. In cases of emergency, medical assistants attach the handheld pulse oximeter on the patient’s toe.
How To Use A Fingertip Pulse Oximeter at Home
  • Select a finger with a short nail and free from nail polish.
  • Place your hand on a flat surface and face the palm down.
  • Insert the finger into the pulse oximeter such that the LED readout side is facing up for you to make note of the readings.
  • Switch on the button and wait for few seconds allowing the 3 LED readouts on the pulse oximeter to settle with the correct readings.
  • Make sure that you remain still while the pulse oximeter is performing its job as any movement can disturb or delay the reading.
  • When the pulse oximeter is done with its job, you can examine the readings.
  • The reading with a heart symbol is the person’s pulse rate.
  • The notation of Sp02 symbolizes the person’s blood oxygen saturation level.
  • The moving bar graph indicates the pulse strength.
  • After you are done with noting down the readings, carefully remove your finger from the fingertip pulse oximeter.
  • The fingertip pulse oximeter will shutoff automatically once free from any contact from the body.
With a pulse oximeter at home, you now do not have to rush an ill person to a hospital or make regular visits for monitoring your blood oxygen saturation levels. Use carefully and take care!

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