General Practice 2022

Oxímetro: what it is for and how to use it correctly

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Oxímetro: what it is for and how to use it correctly
Oxímetro: what it is for and how to use it correctly

The oximeter is a small device that is usually placed on the tip of the finger and that allows measuring saturation, that is, the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood at a given moment.

Usually, the oximeter is used whenever there is suspicion (or confirmation) of diseases that impair or interfere with the supply of oxygen in the body, such as heart disease, lung problems or neurological diseases, for example.

A saturation above 95% is considered normal and indicates that the blood is being well oxygenated. A saturation rate below this value may indicate that the lung is not working properly and, therefore, it may be necessary to undergo oxygen treatment in the hospital.Understand the consequences of lack of oxygen in the blood.

How to use the oximeter correctly

To use the oximeter correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Turn on the device until it starts to emit a red light;
  2. Place the device on your fingertip, so that the red light is above the nail;
  3. Keep the hand relaxed and supported, below heart level;
  4. Wait a few seconds until the saturation value appears on the device screen.

To ensure a good reading, it is also important that the hands are not too cold (as this reduces blood circulation and impairs the reading of the device). You should also remove nail polish or false nails and avoid using the device in very bright or sunny environments.

In cases where finger saturation measurement is not possible, the oximeter can be used on the toes or earlobe.

Normal saturation values

A he althy person, with adequate body oxygenation, usually has an oxygen saturation above 95%, however, it is common that for mild conditions, such as flu or colds, the saturation is between 93 and 95 %, no cause for concern.

When the saturation reaches values ​​below 90%, it may indicate reduced oxygen supply due to the presence of a more serious disease such as asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, heart failure, neurological diseases or even complications from COVID-19.

Here's what to do when your oxygen saturation is below normal.

How to know if the saturation is normal

To know if your oxygen saturation value is adequate, please fill in the data in the calculator:

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