A thermometer is a vital piece of home healthcare equipment. It is used to check a person’s internal body temperature; when their temperature becomes elevated past a certain point, they are running a fever. Fevers tend to indicate the presence of an illness beyond a common cold, such as a flu or an infection. By tracking your family’s internal temperature, you can identify when a family member has a fever, whether they are successfully fighting the illness, and when to consult a doctor.
There are many different types of thermometers on the market, all of which deliver accurate readings when used correctly. However, certain types of thermometers have distinct use cases.
The most common type of thermometer that families keep in their home is the oral thermometer, which is placed in the mouth to take a temperature reading. Some of these thermometers can also be used for rectal or axillary (underarm) readings. Read the instructions carefully and only use the thermometer in a recommended fashion.
Ear thermometers, sometimes called tympanic thermometers, deliver readings from the user’s ear canal. Ear thermometers are less intrusive than oral thermometers. However, their readings can be affected by earwax buildup. It’s important to use ear thermometers on children only when the product is specifically designed for kids, or for all ages. Carefully read packaging and instructions before use.
Forehead thermometers come in two varieties: contact and non-contact. Non-contact forehead thermometers take temperature readings when hovered a few centimetres from the patient’s head. These have become particularly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they significantly reduce the risk of contagion.
Digital thermometers provide fast, easy-to-read temperature readings. Many come with advanced settings, including the ability to toggle between celsius and fahrenheit readings, and the ability to store past readings to help you track temperatures over short or long periods.
A digital infrared thermometer is a non-contact thermometer that gathers a temperature reading from the thermal radiation being emitted from the patient. These sophisticated thermometers are easy to use and reliably deliver accurate temperature readings.
In very young children, rectal digital thermometers provide the most accurate readings. In older children and adults, oral readings are generally accurate assuming the thermometer is used correctly. Other fever thermometers, including ear thermometers and non-contact forehead thermometers, also provide accurate readings.
A digital infrared thermometer can take a person’s temperature without touching them. Simply hover the device as close to the patient’s forehead as the instructions specify to record a fast, accurate temperature reading.
Digital thermometers generally deliver quick, accurate readings when used correctly. In very young children, rectal readings tend to be the most accurate. In older children and adults, oral readings are usually correct. Ear thermometer readings are generally accurate, but can be affected by earwax buildup.