A pulse oximeter is a handy device that allows you to easily monitor heart rate and oxygen saturation.
Pulse oximeters are used by people with chronic conditions as well as those in full health.
We explain why it can be a great idea to have one at home, allowing you to take ownership of your health and wellbeing.
What is a pulse oximeter and what does it tell you?
A pulse oximeter is a small electronic device that fits onto your finger. It can measure both your heart rate and the oxygen saturation in your red blood cells.
The best pulse oximeters have a clear digital display and are splash-proof, so you don’t have to worry about getting liquid droplets on them.
Many people find them useful for keeping track of their heart rate. A normal resting heart rate for adults is 60 to 100 beats per minute. A heart rate that’s too high can indicate a wide range of conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Disease or abnormality of the heart
A lower pulse than normal is quite common in athletes and people who work out regularly, as well as older adults. But it can also be linked to:
- Low thyroid function
- Inflammation of the heart muscle
- Bacterial infections that affect the heart
- Heart attack
A pulse oximeter is also good for knowing what your oxygen saturation level is.
For healthy adults, a normal oxygen saturation level is between 95% to 100%. A lower level means your body isn’t getting enough oxygen and you need medical attention.
An oxygen saturation level below 90% is considered an emergency and you should dial triple zero (000) for help.
Lots of things may cause a low oxygen saturation level, including:
- Respiratory infections like flu and COVID-19
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder)
- Pulmonary embolism (when a blood clot blocks an artery in the lung)
How to use a pulse oximeter
Using a pulse oximeter is simple. Here’s what you need to do:
- Remove any nail polish or jewellery from the finger you’re going to use.
- Position your hand below heart level and try to relax.
- Place the pulse oximeter on your fingertip.
- Keep the oximeter on your fingertip for the time indicated in the instructions.
- Note the readings for your pulse and oxygen saturation.
- Remove and store the device once you’ve finished.
Who should get a pulse oximeter?
A pulse oximeter is the ideal medical device to have at home if you are living with a long-term condition that affects either your heart rate or oxygen saturation levels. It’s easy to use, painless and gives quick and simple-to-understand results.
You will find a pulse oximeter useful to have at home if you are living with one of the following vascular conditions (which affect the veins and arteries):
- Coronary heart disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Hyperlipidaemia (high levels of fats in the blood)
- Congenital (from birth) abnormality of the heart
Or if you are living with a respiratory condition like:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Cystic fibrosis
- Lung cancer
A pulse oximeter is also useful if you are aged 65 or over to check your oxygen saturation levels, as these tend to decline as you get older.
Additionally, younger and healthy people can find it reassuring to keep a pulse oximeter at home. It can prove invaluable if you have an unexpected illness, like COVID-19, or if you simply want to keep track of your health and wellbeing, such as your pulse rate before, during and after exercise.
Shop your fast, accurate pulse oximeter
If you have a long-term condition like one of those mentioned above or simply like to be proactive about your health, having a pulse oximeter at home is a great idea.
It allows you to keep track of your health and means you can seek help early if you notice that something is wrong.
Pulse oximeters are just one of the many health and wellbeing items we stock in the FeverMates collection.
Our fingertip pulse oximeter is easy to use and gives fast and accurate results, so it’s ideal if you like to be proactive about your health.
Why not take a look at our entire range of products? They’re all designed to keep you and your family on top of your health. You’ll find items to help keep you well, like hand sanitiser and face masks, as well as products to help you if you fall sick, including cooling products and home test kits.
It’s all part of the FeverMates mission to promote health and wellbeing right across Australia!