What Are Medical Thermometers?

By Maura Philis on 06/05/2020

Medical thermometers are used for measuring human body temperature. There are different types that we can use. They come in different sizes, shapes, and styles. When purchasing the right thermometer, we should consider why we need the tool. There are various things that we should consider when purchasing the right thermometer.

Forehead Thermometers

In health crises, forehead thermometers provide safer screening from a distance. They measure body temperature without unsafe bodily contact. Some forehead thermometers are no-contact so follow manufacturer instructions to use properly.

Forehead Thermometerr

How do I use a forehead thermometer? What else should I know?

  • Make sure the forehead is clean and dry.
  • Hold the sensing area perpendicular to the forehead.
  • The distance between the thermometer and the person differs based on the model.

Is this thermometer right for my workplace?

Due to COVID-19, the FDA developed policies expanding the availability of forehead thermometers. The re-opening of businesses encourages symptom and temperature. Many businesses started implementing screenings using forehead thermometers.

Even though pre-screening helps catch symptomatic workers, the CDC still suggests social distancing while checking temperatures. Because of this, forehead thermometers are the best choice. HomElectrical offers a no-contact thermometer that reads the most effective measurement from .78 to 1.97 inches away!

Digital Thermometers

Regular digital thermometers use electronic heat sensors to measure body temperature. Target areas for digital thermometers include the rectum, mouth, or armpits. However, armpit temperatures provide the least accurate readings. For infants and children up to age 3, rectal temperatures prove to be most accurate. For older children and adults, oral readings are accurate.

Digital Thermometer

How do I use a digital thermometer? What else should I know?

  • If used orally, make sure the mouth stays closed while the thermometer is in place.
  • If you plan on using a digital thermometer for both oral and rectal temperatures, you need two separate thermometers clearly labeled. Do not use the same thermometer in both places.
  • Wait 15 minutes after eating or drinking to take an oral temperature. Food and drink can affect the reading.
  • Most digital thermometers can record temperatures in a minute or less.
  • Suitable for all age groups.
  • Digital Ear Thermometers

    Digital ear thermometers use an infrared ray to measure the temperature inside the ear canal.

    How do I use a digital ear thermometer? What else should I know?

    Ear Thermometer

    • Make sure the ear is clean from any build-up or other debris, as it can affect the accuracy.
    • Keep the tip of the thermometer clean and sterile.
    • Gently pull the top of the ear back to straighten the ear canal and insert the tip of the thermometer.
    • When used correctly, this thermometer is quick and comfortable for children and adults.
    • This type is not recommended for newborns due to their small ear canals.

    Accuracy of Thermometers

    The temperature reading varies depending on the thermometer used. Below are three of the common thermometer readings and their relationships.

    • The average oral temperature is 98.6°F
    • An ear temperature is 0.5°F to 1°F higher than an oral temperature
    • A forehead temperature is usually 0.5°F to 1°F lower than an oral temperature

    Thermometer Chart

    Mercury Thermometers

    MercuryThermometer

    Mercury thermometers use a glass tube filled with mercury and a temperature scale is marked on the glass. When temperature changes, the mercury expands and contracts, stopping at the temperature of the object.

    They were used in households, schools and medical facilities. However, this type lost popularity due to toxic mercury that can escape from the tubing.

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposes the use of this thermometer and many states restrict the sale of it. If you have a mercury thermometer and want to dispose of it, contact your local officials for proper disposal.

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