Pulse Oximeter: What is is, how to use it and which one to get

You may have never seen or even heard of a pulse oximeter, but it’s one of the cheapest and most useful tools for monitoring your health. A pulse oximeter monitors your heart rate and blood oxygenation levels and is a device most commonly found in your doctors tool kit. A pulse oximiter usually costs under $20 and is widely available online, it’s extremely simple to use and involves no needles or pain.

Who might need a pulse oximeter?

Anyone really! Much like a thermometer, a pulse oximeter is a tool for measuring your health that you’ll probably only use a few times a year when you feel you might need to. Specifically, it would be useful for when you experience a bout of flu or a cold to check that your lungs are working as they should. It’s more likely to be useful for those who are vulnerable to lung issues like the elderly or those with asthma, however it’s just one tool that’s in no way a definitive indication of your health.

How to use a pulse oximeter

The device is very simple to use and all pulse oximeters work the same way. All you need to do is turn it on, clip it to your index finger and wait a few seconds as it takes a reading. Your pulse will be shown almost immediately and your blood oxygenation level will be shown as a value out of 100. Most people will see something between 95 and 100 which is considered normal. If you have a reading anything lower than over more than a few days, don’t panic, but if you’ve just had a flu like illness maybe you should book an appointment with your doctor!

The device is able to detect how much oxygen is in your blood by shining a light through your finger, it then detects how much of this light passes through which in turn tells the device how oxygenated your blood is. There is no pain involved at all!

Where can you buy one?

The Pulse Oximieter pictured on this post was bought from Amazon (check here), but there are plenty of options. Each is powered by either one or two standard AAA batteries and should last a long time.


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