So lately we are seeing thermometers ( scanners) everywhere ! Though the Covid-19 pandemic has made it popular again, it is always an essential component of the medicine cupboard at home. Guessing the grade of fever by touching forehead or body with the back of hands is highly inaccurate and should be discouraged. Parents get confused by the range of thermometers available in the market and which best suits their child’s age-group. Hence , this post aims to answer few of your doubts .
Our normal body temperature is about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) or 37 degrees Celsius (°C). Temperature above 100.4 degree F ( 38 deg C) is considered as fever.
The different types of Thermometers :
Digital Thermometers: Most commonly used and the most popular ones. These can be used rectally, in the armpit ( axillary ) and in the mouth ( oral cavity ) .
Cost : Rs 150-Rs300
- Rectal temperatureis considered the most accurate but not preferred by parents . These can be used from newborn period till the gae of 4 years
- Axillary temperature though are the most inaccurate among the three, is the most preferred site for parents. Can be used from newborn to adults .
- Oral temperature– Can be used from 4 years upwards if the child is able to hold the thermometer below the tongue .
Ear ( Tympanic Thermometer : This type of thermometer measures the temperature inside of the ear by reading the infrared heat there.For older babies and children, ear thermometers can be quicker and easier to use. They should not be used if your child has too much earwax, or if they have an earache. It is fairly accurate
Cost: Rs 1200-3000
Temporal artery (forehead): Forehead thermometers are also used to measure temperature, but may not be as reliable as the digital thermometers and are usually more expensive.
Cost: Rs 1500-3000
Contact less Thermometers:They use Infrared principle and easy and popular to use nowadays as it avoids contact. It is fairly accurate as well.
Cost: Rs 1700-4000
The correct way to use thermometers : Before using thermometers, make sure your hands and the thermometer is clean.
Rectal: Put a small amount of lubricant (petroleum jelly or Vaseline on the sensor (tip) of the thermometer.Place your child belly down on your lap or table, with one palm on their back. Put a diaper or cloth under your child as he or she may poop immediately after removal of the thermometer.Gently insert the thermometer into the anus until the tip is completely inside the rectum.Keep the thermometer steady with your hand until you hear the beep (around 30 seconds).Gently remove. Record temperature .
Axillary :Remove the child’s shirt and place the thermometer tip into your child’s armpit. Make sure your child’s armpit is dry to get the most accurate reading.Keep the axillary thermometer in place by folding your child’s arm across his or her chest.The thermometer will beep when reading is done (this method may take longer than 30 seconds).Remove and record temperature .
Tympanic thermometer :Pull gently back on the top of the ear to open the ear canal.Gently insert the thermometer until the ear canal is fully sealed off.Press and hold down the button for 1-2 seconds until you hear a beep (follow the manufacturer’s instructions).Remove the thermometer, and record temperature .
Temporal artery thermometer:Turn the thermometer on.Sweep the thermometer gently across the forehead so the infrared scanner can measure the temperature of the temporal artery.Record the temperature .
Contactless thermometer :Place the thermometer 1-3 cm away from the centre of the forehead. Press the button and a beep will go off. Record the temperature.
Mercury Thermometers :Traditionally used mercury thermometers are no longer recommended. If there is breakage, mercury could spill and induce toxicity.
Temperature recorded in the axilla on an average is 1 degree F lower than rectal temperature . So you can add a degree to the axillary temperature.
Thermometer is an important device to keep at home. When used correctly, it can help alleviate stress, monitor fever accurately and seek timely help when needed.