When it comes to routine health care these days, you’re more likely than ever to meet virtually with your doctor. Having the right home health devices can help you provide necessary data to your doctor. What everyone should have…
Why own one: A suddenly elevated or reduced pulse may signal a severe medical problem. And while phone apps lack the accuracy of professional equipment, they can give you a close idea.
What to look for: A highly rated app with an easy-to-use interface that works off your phone’s camera—it takes pictures of your fingertip to calculate your heart’s rhythm.
Pulse oximeter: Why own one: Normally you wouldn’t need this fingertip blood-oxygen–measuring device unless you had a lung disease. But low blood oxygen has been linked with COVID-19, so pulse oximeters are flying off shelves.
What to look for: Easy use (single button)…large display.
Top pick: ClinicalGuard CMS-50DL Finger Pulse Oximeter ($19.95, widely available).
Blood pressure monitor
Why own one: Blood pressure is an important statistic in medical emergencies as well as routine virtual visits.
What to look for: One-touch operation, a clear display and mobile/cloud data storage and sharing. Get a cuff that goes over your bicep, not your wrist, and choose an established brand with a track record of reliability.
Top pick: Omron 7 Series ($67.49, OmronHealthCare.com).
Why own one: Sudden weight gain or loss can indicate serious illness. Weight change of 5% or more up or down in less than a week, assuming you’re not trying to lose weight, should be discussed with your doctor. Measure your weight weekly to know your baseline and so you don’t miss dramatic changes.
What to look for: Simplicity, sturdiness and a backlit display.
Top pick: Etekcity Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale ($19.99, widely available).
Why own one: To diagnose fever. A temperature greater than 100.4°F is considered a fever.
What to look for: Something practical and easy to use. The general consensus among doctors is that oral thermometers are most accurate. If you prefer something faster, go for an in-ear or on-forehead, also called temporal, model. All are accurate, but in-ear temperature usually is 0.5°F higher than oral, and forehead temperature is usually 0.5°F lower.
Top picks (all widely available): For an oral thermometer, iProven Digital Thermometer ($13.49). For in-ear measurements, Braun ThermoScan 7 ($68.88). For a forehead thermometer, iHealth Non Contact Infrared Thermometer ($24.99).
Why own one: This device is recommended for parents of young children and for adults who are prone to ear infections. A quick YouTube search for an explanatory video will give you enough know-how to discern between healthy ear tissue and infection.
What to look for: 5X magnification and a glass lens for greater clarity.
Top pick: Dr. Mom 4th Generation LED Pocket Otoscope ($48.92, DrMom