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Why pulse oximeters should be part of your everyday routine

The pulse oximeter, a small and non-invasive device designed to detect your blood oxygen levels, should be part of your and your family’s everyday routine. It is a tool trusted by physicians worldwide and is an essential tool in hospitals for monitoring the condition of ICU patients.

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Pulse oximeters are cheap, effective, and easy to use. Most of them work by simply clasping around the tip of your finger and pressing a button, then displaying your blood oxygen level, otherwise known as SpO2, and heart rate. A normal SpO2 reading typically falls between 95 and 100 percent.

Using pulse oximeters regularly over time allows you to understand trends in your body and gauge an average of what is functional for you. When your pulse oximeter results differ from the norm – dropping below a typical value for you – there's your signal to pursue medical attention.

Conditions like respiratory illnesses can be screened using pulse oximeters before other symptoms present themselves, or when the patient is asymptomatic. Pulse oximeters can also help detect silent hypoxia; a serious condition characterized by an alarmingly low blood oxygen level without any difficulty breathing.

Making an appointment at the doctor or hospital can be time-consuming and costly and, as we have witnessed in the last few years, harmful if the system is overwhelmed. Screening yourself and your loved ones before you leave the house can inform you of health readings giving you peace of mind without visiting the doctor. If it becomes necessary to visit a professional, you can arrive armed with more information to assist in treatment or diagnosis.

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Similar to the function of an infrared ear thermometer, a pulse oximeter allows you to monitor your health from anywhere at any time. Having the right tools at home can empower you to be in control of your wellbeing, and know when to act early if things are amiss.

Ensuring pulse oximeters in homes means workplaces can monitor their staff’s health before coming in, when they're being monitored for respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, and if family or friends have been exposed to respiratory illnesses.

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