Why Pulse Oximeters Are Suddenly Super Popular

They're selling out online, likely thanks to coronavirus
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2020 7:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – On Tuesday morning, Andy Cohen went on Today to talk about his experience with COVID-19. Since he has asthma, the coronavirus was particularly concerning for him, and his doctor recommended he use something called a pulse oximeter. News articles about the devices have also started popping up amid the pandemic, like one from the Wall Street Journal on how to assemble an "emergency home-care kit" and one from the New York Times on how caregivers can keep the elderly safe. So, should you buy one (or try to)? Here's what you need to know:

  • What is it? It's a small electronic device, typically clamped over a fingertip, that measures how much oxygen your red blood cells are carrying. Per Medical News Today, they're typically used by people with respiratory or cardiovascular issues. But sometimes—as now—they can be useful with certain infections.

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