Stay home, stay safe. But what happens when you get Covid and are asked to take care at home? The Indian healthcare system is already burdened with the increasing COVID cases, and the doctors are now advising patients to take care of themselves at home with the right medication and lung exercises. The doctors are also advising patients to invest in a good pulse oximeter to check oxygen levels at regular intervals. In such cases, it is very important to know what is the correct way to use a pulse oximeter. In this article, we have jotted down the points on how to use the pulse oximeter the right way to help you make an informed decision of whether hospitalization is necessary or not.
How to Use a Pulse Oximeter
To check oxygen saturation, COVID-19 patients isolating at home are requested to use a pulse oximeter to monitor oxygen levels. Here are some pointers to keep in mind when using a pulse oximeter at home:
- Rest for at least 10-15 mins before checking oxygen level
- Always put the oximeter on the middle or index finger
- Don’t move, keep it in the same place to get a correct reading
- Register the highest result once the reading has stabilised
- Start recording from the baseline and record at least twice a day unless you notice any changes in your health
- Consult a doctor immediately in case of breathlessness or dip in oxygen levels to 93 per cent or less
The pulse oximeter displays 2 results: blood oxygen level (SpO2) and pulse rate (PR). Your doctor can tell what numbers are or should be considered normal for you. It is SpO2 which shows the percentage of oxygen concentration in the patient’s blood.
It is always better to check oxygen levels twice – one without any movement and the other after 6 minutes walk. If there is a variation in the results, it is best to call a doctor and start the right medication before the virus starts affecting the lungs.
Tip: If your home SpO2 reading is lower than 90%, it is best to call your health care provider immediately.
Pulse oximeter might not give an accurate reading if:
- You are wearing nail paint
- You have henna pigment
- There is a bright light on the probe
- Too much body movement
- There is poor perfusion
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
How to check of pulse oximeter is working?
If you are concerned about whether your oximeter is working correctly, it is best to check it first on the person who has not been tested positive. This helps to get a clear picture and check if there is a concerning dip in the oxygen. It is also important to keep the battery fully charged to ensure the pulse oximeter gives the correct reading.
How much time should we keep the pulse oximeter on the finger?
Doctors recommend the patients keep the pulse oximeter for at least 5 seconds to get an accurate reading.
Care at home during COVID
- Along with the prescribed medications, it is best to take Zinc and Vitamin supplements as this helps the body to heal.
- A high protein diet is also important to help fight fatigue and give the body the necessary strength to fight the virus.
- Drink lots of fluids and take ample rest to let the body recover naturally
- Do lung exercises to help build strength and ensure the organ is not affected
- Follow the doctor’s recommendations about care and home isolation. If symptoms appear to be getting worse, do not hesitate to call the doctor.
We request all our readers to stay indoors and step out only if it is essential. Wear masks at all times and maintain good hygiene to keep the deadly virus at bay. Also, let us know if you have any other questions regarding how to use pulse oximeter. We will be happy to help.