The humble fingerprint pulse oximeter is now a prized possession for many due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a medical device that lets people check their oxygen saturation levels. It is a small, handheld unit, which is normally attached to your finger or toe. You might think that it is necessary due to the prevailing pandemic but think again as there are many devices that are 'China' made offering bogus results.

Beware before buying a Pulse Oximeter

Roadside vendors are also selling the medical device to make quick profits by capitalising on its rising demand. People have been venting out their ire on social media over faulty readings shown on their devices.

The Twitter clip shared by a user of a 'China' made oximeterTwitter

Video clip circulated on Twitter

A clip was circulated on Twitter in which a person tries out a 'China' made oximeter by first placing a finger to get the readings of his oxygen level and pulse and then he places a pencil inside the device and it shows exactly the same results, which means that the pencil, too, has a pulse and oxygen saturation levels.

Of late, there are several tutorials that have been put up on social media and YouTube instructing people to buy pulse oximeters in order to monitor whether they have COVID-19. Online sale of oximeter has increased and the product is in demand at physical storefronts.

On the other hand, Prof JC Suri, who is a pulmonology expert, was quoted as saying in a report that, "What I notice is that people are buying pulse oximeters and oxygen cylinders out of sheer panic due to COVID-19. For normal people, these things are not required. People cannot administer oxygen by themselves at home; you need to be in a hospital if you require oxygen."

A user reacting to the video on Twitter said, "Pencil is made of wood. Wood has cells. Cells divide and hence pencil has pulse. It's so simple. Now some people might say dead cells don't divide but I don't care."

To this, another user reacted, "Who cares whether you care or not? I do and would never buy a product till I am 100% confident about its performance."

The user also shared another picture of the oximeter with a pencil in itTwitter

Further questioning the authenticity of the 'China' made product, a user stated, "I bought a Made in India by Ambitech. Because these are touch sensitive, they give reading on pencil as well. However Ambitech oximeter showed 56 as heart beat and 75 as oxygen level for a pencil. For finger it is 90 and 75 which is correct."

However, it should be noted that health experts are of the view that such devices can do more harm than good as taking oxygen support based on faulty readings on such devices could put patients in danger.