A thermometer is used in monitoring the temperature of a person suffering from a fever. Having a thermometer in your first aid kit at home is important since a fever is usually a common sign of an infection.
There are various types of thermometers you can use with today’s technology advancements. Some of them even feature the least invasive method for temperature checks.
A traditional thermometer is more commonly known as a mercury thermometer. It comes in a tube-shaped glass that contains the mercury. The mercury rises or lowers, depending on the temperature.
A mercury thermometer is placed under a person’s armpit or mouth. In babies, a mercury thermometer can be used as a rectal thermometer as well.
A digital thermometer can be used the same way as a traditional thermometer in the armpit, mouth or rectum. It’s not advisable, however, to use the same device for taking the temperature in the mouth if you’ve already used it for the rectum, so it’s better to have more than one device at home.
Using a digital thermometer has its advantage from the traditional type because it takes half the time to get the results. It usually shows the accurate reading under a minute, whereas traditional thermometers need at least three minutes.
Digital Pacifier Thermometer
A digital pacifier thermometer is especially useful for babies above three months old. It is placed in the babies’ mouth for three to five minutes to take the temperature without them knowing what you’re doing.
A study, however, showed that pacifier thermometers aren’t nearly as accurate as digital rectal thermometers. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends the use of pacifier thermometer in less crucial or low-volume ambulatory cases in sick children.
Electronic or Tympanic Thermometer
An electronic thermometer makes use of infrared rays or thermal scanners that do away with the discomfort, especially on fussy sick children who might not like having their temperature taken because of traumatic experiences with invasive devices. This type requires no contact but can still be accurate.
Electronic thermometers, also known as tympanic thermometers, measure the temperature via the ear. Just properly position the child so that the scanners can measure from the ear’s opening. There’s no need to insert the thermometer into the ear hole.
A strip thermometer is a simple flat plastic device placed on the forehead. Simply watch the strip change colors based on the chart the manufacturer provided. This type, however, might not be a hundred percent accurate in measuring a fever.
Take Good Care of Your Thermometer
Because of the importance of a thermometer, you’ll need to take good care of it for it to last. It’s important to remember that this device is not a toy and should always be kept away from children’s reach. Store the thermometer as you would any first aid items.
Before each use, sterilize your thermometer with alcohol or wash the tip with warm water and soap. Always follow the instructions that come with the thermometer’s package when you made your purchase.
When To See a Doctor After Checking Temperature
After taking a person’s temperature using a thermometer, consult a doctor if the fever is 102° to 104° for more than 24 hours. For babies below six months, however, consult a doctor if the fever peaks at 100.4°.