Top Tips For Using Pulse Oximeters For Your Finger

Are you experiencing problems with your oxygen saturation? Considering the importance of having enough oxygen in your blood, it’s of great importance to always monitor your saturation levels.

Although your physician will perform a pulse oximetry test in his clinic, you may consider the need to perform this procedure while being at home as well. A fingertip pulse oximeter which provides accurate readings would be a great choice to do this.

The following tips will help you learn on how to use this handheld device properly.

Know the reason for using such a device

The main purpose of pulse oximetry is measuring the exact oxygen saturation levels in patients, which refers to determining the amount of oxygen in their blood. This procedure is performed for multiple reasons, particularly in patients suffering from medical conditions that require constant monitoring of oxygen saturation.

For instance, individuals suffering from asthma, pneumonia, anemia, heart attacks, lung cancer, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) need to have their blood oxygen levels measured. Read more about the most common causes, symptoms, and treatment for anemia.

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Besides being used for monitoring the above-mentioned medical conditions, pulse oximetry is valuable for monitoring oxygen saturation in the course of surgeries as well as during post-surgical procedures, where patients are under sedation. Also, it’s used as a method of assessing the effectiveness of lung medications.

Moreover, this procedure has proven to be beneficial in evaluating the effectiveness of ventilators as well as determining whether a person needs supplemental oxygen. Additionally, pulse oximeters are particularly useful for people suffering from sleep apnea who lose their breath while sleeping.

Analyze its work method

Before using a pulse oximeter, it is paramount to be familiar on how it works. These devices rely on the ability of hemoglobin to absorb light in order to provide accurate oxygen saturation results. It uses a finger probe with a light detector that shows the difference between hemoglobin with sufficient and insufficient amount of oxygen.

Analyze its work method

Furthermore, pulse oximeters contain a light source with both infrared and red light, which have to pass through the tissue so as to come in contact with the light detector. Greater absorption of infrared light indicates good oxygen saturation, while a greater absorption of red light means low blood oxygen levels. Ultimately, the job of the microprocessor is to perform the necessary calculations and provide accurate results on the screen. The following link,, explains the causes of high and low hemoglobin levels.

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Take the necessary precautions

In order for the pulse oximeter to provide accurate results, patients are required to take the necessary precautions before using the device. For instance, it’s essential for your hands to be completely clean before the procedure, as dirt may block the light source. Therefore, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly to prevent the probe from being contaminated with bacteria.

In addition, female users are strongly advised to remove the nail polish from their fingers, at least from the one the oximeter is attached to. Nail polish is believed to absorb light, thus preventing the light source from reaching hemoglobin. Also, pulse oximeters aren’t supposed to be exposed to sunlight, as this kind of light is likely to obstruct the light source from detecting hemoglobin.

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Moreover, users are recommended to avoid any movements in the course measuring oxygen saturation. Staying still is the only way for the pulse oximeter to provide an accurate reading. Additionally, your hands are supposed to be warm, which implies optimal blood flow. However, if your hands are cold, make sure you rub them to induce blood circulation.

Use it properly

The proper method of using these devices is mainly determined by the type of pulse oximeter. For instance, when using hospital grade pulse oximeters, patients are required to attach the probe around the fingernail. In case the device has a monitor, it’s supposed to be placed above the fingernail.

Additionally, when using this handheld device, make sure your hand is placed on the chest to provide better blood flow. As long as you don’t hold your hand in the air, the reading will be accurate.


Such an oximeter is an investment in your health.

Choose the best one!

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