How to Use the Pulse Oximeter

Author: FITivate | Published date: September 30, 2021 | Category: Medical
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Facelake oximeter

The Temasek Foundation has announced that it will be giving one pulse oximeter to every Singaporean household for free. The main function of the oximeter is to non-invasively measure the blood oxygen levels in the body. It can efficiently monitor oxygen that is being transported to the extremities of the body, namely, the arms and legs. In short, it is used to check how well the heart is pumping oxygen through the entire body by measuring variations in light absorption in oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. [1]

Typical uses

In the clinical and hospital setting, the oximeter is used to monitor the condition of the patient who is suffering from conditions that can adversely affect the blood oxygen levels in the body, they include [1]    :

Oximeter and COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus can cause the blood oxygen levels to drop to dangerous levels.

If you are having symptoms of respiratory tract infection like :

  • fever
  • cough
  • runny nose
  • increased phlegm production
  • breathless,

You can use the pulse oximeter to assess your blood oxygen levels to assess if your blood oxygen levels have dropped.

 The oximeter plays an important role in easily detecting a decline in health conditions by checking the oxygen levels in the body

How to properly use the Pulse Oximeter

The ones that will be distributed to every household will be used as a finger clip.

Step 1 :

Place finger into the clip, making sure that the pulp of the finger is directly above the pulsating red light.

Step 2 : 

Press the on button on the device and wait for about 1 minute for the reading to stabilise

Step 3 : interpreting the results

The larger numeric font of figures will be the SpO2 or blood oxygen saturation value

The smaller numeric font of figures will be the pulse (heart rate)

  • Healthy Levels : SpO2 = 95 to 100%
  • Low Levels : SpO2 = 90 to 94%
  • Dangerously low levels : SpO2 less than 90%

For patient who experience low or dangerously low levels must seek medical attention immediately.  Do note that low levels of SpO2 is not indicative of COVID-19 positivity and can be the result of other conditions mentioned earlier.

Singaporean households can check the nearest locations to collect their oximeter here.

By : Alvin Ho

B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)

Reviewed by :  Dr Chen Yiming

Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)



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