Get the most out of your Pulse Oximeter / Troubleshooting
Nail polish (especially dark shades) and/or artificial nails may affect the oximeter's performance. Hint: If time is running out and you can't remove the nail polish, turn the sensor 90 degrees (1/4 of a turn) on your finger.
Warm up your fingers/improve blood flow. Accurate oxygen measurements by oximetry require a good blood flow through the tissues closest to the edge of your skin. When your fingers are cold, the blood flow is reduced and poor or abnormal readings are possible. Warming the hands by rubbing them together or with warm water helps improve blood flow.
Don't smoke! Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen reaching your tissues and may result in the oximeter falsely suggesting that oxygen level is satisfactory.
You may be more short of breath when your oxygen is low, but oxygen alone may not fully relieve shortness of breath. Exercise training and pulmonary rehabilitation are usually helpful in this situation.