How to Take Your Pulse

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Different reasons may arise in which you need or want to take your pulse, or check someone else's. It is important to know the proper way to take a pulse, to ensure that you come up with an accurate number.
Your pulse can be taken in two different spots on the body, and will indicate how many beats per minute your heart is beating. Practice taking your own pulse until you feel confident that you are able to correctly take a pulse.

  • Place your index and middle finger on the bottom side, or palm side, of your wrist. If you prefer, you can take a pulse on the neck, using the same two fingers. Place both fingers on the bottom portion of the neck, just on the side of the windpipe.

  • Gently apply pressure until you feel the pulsating. You may need to readjust in order to find the right spot. If you have trouble on your wrist, try your neck, and vice versa.

  • Looking at a clock or stopwatch, count the number of pulses or beats you feel in a 10-second time frame. Take that number and multiply it by 6 to give you the number of beats per minute.

  • Compare the pulse with that of a healthy child or adult. Adults, ages 16 and up, should have a pulse rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Children under 16 will fall between 70 and 100. If you have just exercised or completed a very physical task, your number will be elevated. Be sure to check it again once your body has a chance to rest.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice not only on yourself, but on others as well.
  • If you feel something is wrong, call your doctor or see help right away.
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