The Sun : What is an Oximeter? Where to buy an Oximeter and is the oxygen concentrator available at Walgreens or Amazon?

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SOME coronavirus patients are being sent home from hospital with an oximeter, as medical systems in the US struggle to reserve resources for only the sickest people.

So what is this gadget, and is it available at Walgreens or Amazon?

A pulse oximeter used to measure pulse rate and oxygen levels
Getty Images - Getty

What is an Oximeter?

An oximeter is a small electronic device that clips onto a fingertip to indirectly measure the oxygen saturation of a patient's blood.

In severe Covid-19 cases the virus can block up the lungs, hindering their ability to pass oxygen from the air into the bloodstream.

The American Lung Association explains that if you have shortness of breath or a known lung or heart condition, your doctor may use a pulse oximeter.

This oximeter, or Pulse Ox, is an electronic device that measures the saturation of oxygen carried in your red blood cells.

Pulse oximeters can be attached to your fingers, forehead, nose, foot, ears or toes.

When using the finger probe, a cold light source shines a light through the fingertip, making the tip appear red.

By analyzing the light from the light source that passes through the finger, the device is able to determine the percentage of oxygen in the red blood cells, the association explains.

If you are wearing dark fingernail polish, long, artificial nails or if your fingers are not clean, the pulse oximeter may not work properly.

There are no needles and no pain involved in oximetry measurement.

Doctors have noticed there can be a worrisome lag in symptoms among some Covid-19 patients, with oxygen saturation dropping for some time
Getty Images - Getty

Where can you buy an Oximeter and are they available at Walgreens or Amazon?

When the Sun Online checked Walgreens, the website said that it's experiencing "unusually high demand" for the gadgets.

The Oximeters range in price from $29.99 to $305.99 at Walgreens.

But all seven varieties are currently out of stock.

A search of Amazon's website also shows that it has had a surge in demand for these devices.

Aside from being available online, they can also be found at pharmacies and grocery stores.

For example, you can buy them at Walmart, Target or CVS.

On March 30, Andy Cohen told viewers on Andy Cohen Live, that having beaten the coronavirus, having one of these devices had helped him cope afterwards.

He said: "You could scare yourself and think, 'Oh my God, my lungs don't feel right'.

"But you could use this pulse oximeter and see, 'OK, well actually, you're fine, you're within the range'."

Given the spike in interest in the device, and difficulties that Covid-19 sufferers have in trying to buy them, both the American Lung Association and the American Thoracic Association are advising those people who are in good health to not buy an oximeter, reports Quartz.



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