What is a pulse oximeter?
A pulse oximeter is a small device that you place your finger snugly inside (most require nail side up), and within seconds it lights up with numbers indicating your blood oxygen level and heart rate. Most healthy people will get an oxygen reading around 95 to 98 percent. Some people with existing health conditions may have a lower normal reading. You should check in with your doctor if the number falls to around 93 or 92 or lower.
The device will also show your heart rate. A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from about 60 to 100 beats per minute, although athletes with a higher cardiovascular fitness will have a lower pulse.
The device works better with warmer hands than cold hands. And because oxygen levels can fluctuate, consider taking measurements a few times a day. Also try it in different positions, such as while lying flat on your back or while walking. Keep notes to share with your doctor if needed.
Should you use oxygen concentrator at home?
You should not to use an oxygen concentrator at home unless it has been prescribed by a health care provider. Giving yourself oxygen without talking to a doctor first may do more harm than good. You may end up taking too much or too little oxygen. Deciding to use an oxygen concentrator without a prescription can lead to serious health problems such as oxygen toxicity caused by receiving too much oxygen. It can also lead to a delay in receiving treatment for serious conditions like COVID-19.