How to use a blood oxygen meter? | UK Meds (2024)

How to use a blood oxygen meter?

Blood oxygen meters are very important medical equipment as they provide vital measurements that can give a better insight as to why you are not feeling well. In this article, we will tell you how to use a blood oxygen meter from home so that you can get important readings when you need them.

How to use a blood oxygen meter? | UK Meds (1)

Why should I monitor blood oxygen?

Blood oxygen does not sound like something you need to keep an eye on, however, it absolutely is. Blood oxygen levels can provide an important insight into why you may not be feeling very well and is often a measurement that is overlooked when people are thinking of their own health. Blood oxygen levels will tell you and your doctor how oxygenated your blood is. This will provide insight into how well your blood is carrying oxygen and can answer questions regarding many different conditions.

What is a pulse oximeter?

You may have never heard of it, but apulse oximeteris an important piece of medical equipment. A pulse oximeter is a device that is used to measure blood oxygen levels in the body. Pulse oximeters can measure even the slightest change in blood oxygen levels whilst remaining completely non-invasive. Pulse oximeters are often clipped onto the end of the fingers. This means that they can measure how efficiently the heart is pumping oxygenated blood to your extremities.

How accurate is a blood oxygen monitor?

You may be wondering how accurate an at-home blood oxygen meter can be. The answer is, very. Afingertip pulse oximeterwill be able to detect even the smallest change in the level of oxygenated blood. The device will then give you a reading and you will be able to tell whether or not your results are normal or not. To understand the results of the blood oxygen monitor then continue to read on.

How do I use a blood oxygen monitor?

A fingertip pulse oximeter is very easy to use. You simply place the clip onto the end of the finger and then turn it on. The oximeter works by shooting beams of light into the fingertip. It then monitors the changes in light absorption between oxygenated blood and deoxygenated blood, providing a result as a percentage. For more information on how you can use your fingertip pulse oximeter, feel free to watch the video below.

Using a pulse oximeter at home

Watch the video below to understand how you can use a pulse oximeter from the comfort of your own home to measure both your blood oxygen levels and heart rate.

How do I use a pulse oximeter?

Follow these steps to get the most accurate reading from your pulse oximeter:

  1. Be sure to remove any nail polish or false nails.

  2. Take a few moments to warm your hand up before taking the reading on your pulse oximeter.

  3. You should rest for at least five minutes before proceeding to take a pulse oximeter reading.

  4. Keep your hand still on your chest, ensuring that it is placed at the level of your heart.

  5. Switch on the pulse oximeter and place it onto one of your middle or index fingers (never use a pulse oximeter on your ear!).

  6. Allow time for the reading to stabilise and keep it in place for at least a minute, or until the results stop changing.

  7. Record the highest result found during this period of steadiness (when the result hasn't changed for 5 seconds).

  8. Pay attention to what each result means - make sure you're noting down both your heart rate and oxygen level correctly!

For consistent tracking of your oxygen level and heart rate, it's best to take three readings a day at exactly the same time, and keep track of them in a diary as you go along!

How to use your pulse oximeter and Covid-19 diary

Watch the video below to learn how to use your pulse oximeter in a step by step guide by the NHS:

The NHS has somehelpful resources on what to do for Individuals recovering from COVID-19, who require advice on self-isolation and treating coronavirus symptoms.

What do pulse oximetry readings mean?

Understanding your pulse oximeter readings is actually simpler than it may seem. The reading will be presented as a percentage. Generally, a percentage between 96-100% is considered to be normal. Any value that is below 92% is considered to be low and will require medical observation. You can go further in-depth into your results, however. Below is a table that explains the results of blood oxygen reading in more detail.


Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) %

Pulse Rate (BPM)

Temp (℃)

Normal readings96% or more40-10036.5-37.5
Acceptable to monitor at home95%101-10938
Seek advice from your GP93-94%110-13038.1-39
Requires urgent medical advice92% or less131 or more39 or more

What is SpO2?

SpO2 is the measurement of oxygen saturation in the blood as a percentage. Oxygen saturation is the fraction of oxygen-saturated haemoglobin relative to total haemoglobin in the blood. The body needs to regulate the amount of oxygen in the blood in order for it to function properly which is why it is important to understand your readings.

What is pulse rate?

Your pulse rate is the frequency of the heartbeat measured in the number of contractions of the heart per minute. When the heart is beating the arteries will expand and contract with blood. You can measure your pulse rate by checking a pulse point such as your wrist or your neck.

Who are blood oxygen monitors suitable for?

Are blood oxygen monitors suitable for adults?

Home blood oxygen monitors are perfect for use by adults. The fingertip clip has been designed to sit comfortably on the finger of any adult no matter their age or weight and will get appropriate results by doing so.

Are blood oxygen monitors suitable for children?

Blood oxygen monitors, if necessary, can also be used by children. The fingerclip will be able to provide accurate results no matter the size or gender of the child. If the child is a baby then they may need to use a specialist monitor in hospital due to the size of their hands.

When should I get medical help if my blood oxygen levels are abnormal?

As you may have noticed from the table above, if your blood oxygen percentage is below 92%, your pulse rate is above 131, and your temperature is above 39℃ then you will be best to seek out medical assistance to get to the root of the issue.

Where can I buy a blood oxygen monitor online?

You can purchase ablood oxygen monitoronline from UK Meds, if you place your order before 4pm, you will also be able to get next-day delivery!


How to use a blood oxygen meter? | UK Meds (2024)


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