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Emergency Department Discharge Instructions
Pulse Oximetry- During COVID-19:

 

What is Pulse Oximetry? 

Pulse oximetry measures the percentage of oxygen in your blood. The blood oxygen level measured with an oximeter is called your oxygen saturation level. This is a percentage of how much oxygen your blood is carrying compared to the maximum it is capable of carrying.

 

What you need to do

  • This pulse oximeter may be placed on your finger.  Light is passed from the pulse oximeter through your blood. The pulse ox calculates the percentage of blood that is carrying oxygen. It also measures your heart rate and gives you a reading of both the percentage and heart rate.

  • You will get the best measurements when your hand is warm, relaxed, and at the level of your heart. Make sure all nail polish is removed. Do not smoke, because your percentage will not be correct. The device does not know the difference between carbon monoxide from your smoke and oxygen. Ask your healthcare provider what your percentage should be if you smoke.

  • If the number on the pulse oximeter stays below 94%, then call your doctor immediately or come back to the Emergency Department. Your doctor may advise a different number based on your clinical condition.

  • Additionally, if you are feeling more short of breath, more weak, lightheaded, or having new or worsening symptoms, come back to the Emergency Department immediately

Why is this important? 

Every cell in your body needs oxygen to work properly. You may need extra oxygen if your measurement is low. The pulse oximetry readings help your healthcare provider decide if you need extra oxygen. It can also help show how much extra oxygen you need, and when you need to use it. You may only need extra oxygen when you are asleep. You may need more oxygen with activity.

 

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