Fake Oximeters Are Being Sold Online. Here's How To Check If You're Buying A Real One

Pulse oximeters come in handy when COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic.

Cover image via ABP Live & India Today

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for our latest stories and breaking news.

If you are in quarantine at home, keeping an eye on your oxygen saturation is a good way to track your COVID-19 progress

This is because not everyone with respiratory distress will have obvious symptoms – a situation known as 'silent hypoxia' or 'happy hypoxia'.

This is where a pulse oximeter comes in handy.

The small, convenient device helps you monitor how fast your heart is beating (pulse rate) and the level of oxygen in your blood (SpO2).

It is non-invasive and uses only about two minutes to get a reading – it uses infrared light and red light to detect levels of haemoglobin in your blood, typically through a translucent part of the body such as a fingertip.

An ideal blood oxygen level is between 95% and 100%. Meanwhile, an ideal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm).

Unfortunately, there have been reports worldwide of fake pulse oximeters being sold to customers

You may obtain false or inaccurate oxygen saturation readings by using a counterfeit product, which may be dangerous for COVID-19 patients.

In a news segment by Formosa TV, a Taiwanese customer found that the pulse oximeter he bought online was able to give him a reading after testing it on a stuffed toy.

India Today reported that consumers in India have also found oximeters that could obtain readings from other inanimate objects such as pens and toothbrushes.

Image via ABP Live

As there may also be counterfeit products in the Malaysian market, you are encouraged to buy pulse oximeters approved by the Medical Device Authority (MDA)

You can verify if the device you are buying is legit by accessing the 'Registered Medical Device Search' on the MDA website.

Check if your pulse oximeter is certified by either keying in its name, brand, registration number, or company name in the search field.

Visit the Registered Medical Device Search here.

Besides having a genuine medical device, make sure you use the pulse oximeter correctly too

Follow these instructions to obtain the best reading:
- Remove any nail polish or false nails and warm your hand if cold.
- Rest for at least five minutes before taking your measurement.
- Rest your hand on your chest at heart level and hold still.
- Switch the pulse oximeter on and place it on any finger.
- The reading takes time to steady. Keep the pulse oximeter in place for at least a minute, or longer if the reading keeps changing.
- Record the highest result once the reading has not changed for five seconds.
- Be careful to identify which reading is your heart rate and which is your oxygen level.

The National Health Service of England has produced a short video explaining how to use pulse oximeters at home:

MDA is also reminding consumers to ensure that the COVID-19 self-test kits that they buy are approved:

Read more COVID-19 health updates on SAYS:

You may be interested in: