Many people already have portable oximeters that they use at any given time of their choosing. In hospitals, they also make use of an oximeter to determine the oxygen saturation of a person. Whether you are using your hospital's oximeter or the one you have in your home, it is important for you to know how to use it. If not used properly, it can produce inaccurate results.
Before turning on the pulse oximeter, you need to determine its power source as you would not want to suddenly lose power in the middle of a reading. Some need to be plugged into a wall like the ones that most hospitals have. Newer and portable versions make use of a rechargeable battery that makes it easier to use anywhere.
After making sure that it has enough power, choose a probe depending on where you're going to place it on a person. The common place is to put in the finger of the person. The location is dependent on where the strongest pulse can be found. In the case when the finger is not the best place, other places like the earlobe and the nose can be placed. Each area of the body has a specific kind of probe, so make sure you get the right one.
Once you've selected a probe, turn on the pulse oximeter before placing it in the body. Although oximeters come in different versions, essentially all of them are designed with a button or a toggle switch. You simply have to press it or flick it. Wait for the device to calibrate by itself.
Now you can place the sensor to the part of the body you've chosen earlier. It is important to place it gently and not forcefully. If you place it too hard, it can cause injury to the skin. The best places in the body are the translucent parts like the earlobe or the fingertip. You only have to wait for a few seconds and the oxygen saturation level will immediately appear on the screen.
Normal readings on a pulse oximeter should show that a person has at least 90% of his oxygen saturated. If it is lower than that percentage, then it means that you may have a sickness or injury. You can check it again because some factors like changes in position, condition, or room lighting can affect the results. If it records a lower percentage again, report the readings immediately to your doctor so he can attend to you.