COVID-19 has been around for about three years now, and it doesn’t plan on leaving humanity alone any time soon. Every few months, a new variant gains traction and spreads all over the world like the original COVID-19. Now, as the world fights Omicron, we all need to make sure we can take care of ourselves and take accurate SPO2 readings.
If you don’t already have a pulse oximeter at home, we suggest buying one immediately. Doctors recommend using pulse oximeters on a regular basis these days, as they can help you spot respiratory infections even before you feel out of breath. The earlier one detects a COVID-19 infection, the safer it is for the patient.
In this awareness article, we’ll look at a few simple steps to teach you how to take accurate and reliable SPO2 readings using a pulse oximeter at home. Let’s begin!
The first thing to get right is your sitting position. Sitting upright will keep your body relaxed and prevent the irregular flow of blood — preventing inaccurate heart rate and blood oxygen readings.
Insert Your Index Finger
Place your finger inside the oximeter with the nail facing up. To elaborate, this means the fingernail would be on the same side as the oximeter’s display. Keep your hand steady for a precise reading as unnecessary movements can affect accuracy.
Ideally, you should use the index finger on either one of your hands as the testing site for an SPO2 reading using a pulse oximeter. Make sure you’re not wearing any pigments or nail polish. If the finger has some sort of deformity, use the index finger on the other hand.
Prepare the Oximeter
Before taking the reading, make sure the oximeter isn’t dusty and free of dirt. Sometimes, the photodetector or light source can be covered in dust particles which can potentially lead to imprecise readings.
Before using the pulse oximeter on a covid-infected patient (or potentially infected person with symptoms), try using it on a healthy family member to check if it returns normal readings. If the patient has already used the oximeter, do not use it on a fit family member.
For covid-infected patients, consider using a disposable masimo spo2 sensor to avoid spreading the virus.
Take the Reading
For maximum accuracy, leave the device on for at least a minute before taking your finger out. This allows the device to stabilize and record your readings when your hand is in a state of rest.
Moreover, avoid taking SPO2 readings under direct sunlight or any other direct light source. Since it takes readings based on light transmission, bright lights can affect the sensor’s accuracy. Some other factors such as shivering or scarring on the skin can also lead to false readings, so make sure you’re mindful of these factors.
A resting heart rate of 60 to 100 is considered normal. You should take regular heart rate readings to know your normal bpm readings to draw precise comparisons since every human has a slightly different resting heart rate. If the oximeter returns an abnormally high heart rate, stay calm and contact your doctor immediately.
For oxygen saturation, the number should ideally be over 95%. If it starts to dip below 93%, perform regular SPO2 checks and see a doctor if it continues to dip further down.