6 Facts Everybody Should Know about Pulse Oximeters

Published on September 21, 2020

You may have encountered Pulse Oximeters when visiting your GP or hospital but recently they have become increasingly popular for home use too. Here are 6 facts that everybody should know about Pulse Oximeters, including how Pulse Oximeters can be used to detect coronavirus and pneumonia symptoms, and how to use a Pulse Oximeter correctly.

A Pulse Oximeter is a small, non-invasive device that is clipped to your fingertip to measure blood oxygen levels (SpO2). A Pulse Oximeter determines whether your lungs are circulating enough oxygen around your body to help your vital organs to function efficiently. If blood oxygen levels dip too low, you can become very unwell.

1. When would a Pulse Oximeter be used?

A Pulse Oximeter would generally be used to monitor the health of people who suffer from any type of condition which affects their blood oxygen levels including; COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Asthma, Cardiovascular conditions, and Pneumonia. Most often, a Pulse Oximeter would be used in medical settings to monitor patients. A Pulse Oximeter can also be used in the home for regular health checks.

Due to the global COVID19 pandemic, Pulse Oximeters can be used in the home as we look to manage and monitor our health more closely.

2. Will a Pulse Oximeter detect coronavirus?

Kinetik Wellbeing Pulse Oximeter
Kinetik Wellbeing Pulse Oximeter

The strain of coronavirus which causes COVID19 enters the body via the respiratory system. COVID19 directly affects the lungs, often resulting in inflammation or pneumonia which reduces lung efficiency and reduces the amount of oxygen being transferred around the body. Reduced oxygen levels can occur in both mild and serious cases of COVID19 and you can use a Pulse Oximeter to detect coronavirus symtpoms more quickly or monitor blood oxygen levels when needed.

More information on how a Pulse Oximeter can be used to detect coronavirus can be found here.

3. Will a Pulse Oximeter detect pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a serious respiratory complication caused by inflammation and infection of the lungs. Because pneumonia directly affects the lungs, it can cause blood oxygen levels to reduce. Lowered blood oxygen levels can be recognised and monitored if you use a Pulse Oximeter to detect pneumonia.

Pneumonia has been identified as one of the most serious conditions caused by COVID19. It has been suggested that using a Pulse Oximeter to help detect coronavirus could help to recognise the virus sooner, allowing vital treatment to be administered without delay.

Find more information on detecting pneumonia and coronavirus symptoms on the NHS website.

4. How to use a Pulse Oximeter correctly

In order to achieve an accurate reading, it is important to know how to use a Pulse Oximeter correctly. Here are a few key points to remember when understanding how to use a Pulse Oximeter correctly:

  1. Take your Pulse Oximeter reading whilst sitting quietly and comfortably
  2. Keep still during your Pulse Oximeter reading, do not move your hands around or shake the Pulse Oximeter
  3. Wearing false nails or nail varnish may affect the accuracy of your Pulse Oximeter reading

Blood Oxygen levels are measured in SpO2.

  • A healthy SpO2 reading is 95% or above
  • A low blood oxygen reading is 92% or below
  • An SpO2 reading of 90% or below is considered abnormally low and indicates a medical emergency

Please seek medical advice if you are concerned about your Pulse Oximeter readings.

For instructions on how to use a Pulse Oximeter correctly, watch our video.

5. Which Pulse Oximeter is accurate?

Evidence of clinical validation will help you understand which Pulse Oximeter is accurate but the best way to ensure your Pulse Oximeter is accurate is to follow the device instructions carefully, including the points outlined above on how to use a Pulse Oximeter correctly.

6. How to choose which Pulse Oximeter to buy

There are many options available when choosing which Pulse Oximeter to buy. Choose a clinically validated Pulse Oximeter to ensure you are buying a quality product. Clinical validation indicates that a device is compliant with European medical device regulations. Kinetik Wellbeing stocks Pulse Oximeters that have been classed as class IIa medical devices. 

If you are still uncertain which Pulse Oximeter to buy please browse the selection on our website.

We’re pleased to offer you a special 10% discount and free delivery across all our Pulse Oximeters using discount code ‘pulseoxoffer’ at the checkout.