How to Use a Pulse Oximeter

May 30, 2013 2 min read

The pulse oximeter is a tool designed to measure the levels of oxygen saturation in the blood. DigiO2 Finger Pulse OximeterThis is achieved by passing two wavelengths of light through the patient to a photo-detector that measures the absorbency levels of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. The entire process takes only seconds, and you don’t have to worry about pricking your finger to check on your health. Best of all, it’s easy as can be! Read on for a step-by-step overview on using a pulse oximeter, including tips on how to ensure you receive the most accurate reading possible. 

  1. Insert the batteries into the unit. Most oximeters run on AAA batteries. Make sure to check the charge of the batteries before you plug them in.
  2. Insert your finger into the unit, and keep still for a few seconds while your reading is being calculated. Excessive movements can result in an inaccurate reading – as can too much external light, or poor circulation.
  3. After a few seconds, you should see two numbers. The top number (which, most likely, will be numerically higher) is your SpO² – the ratio of oxygenated vs non-oxygenated blood cells. Generally speaking, a normal SpO² is above 95%, but that number may be lower in people with certain conditions, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The second number is your pulse.
  4. When you’re finished using the oximeter, remove the batteries and stash the unit in a safe place until you’re ready to use it again.

Ladies, just in case you were wondering, you can use your pulse oximeter regardless of whether or not you’re wearing nail polish, so don’t sweat it! With these handy gadgets, keeping an eye on your blood oxygen levels has never been easier. And if you’re considering purchasing one, be sure to take a look at Just Nebulizers' selection of high-quality models!