The days of the good old Mercury Thermometer are long gone. These days there are several different types of thermometer for body temperatures that provide us with different solutions and methods for reading a temperature, which could be more suitable for different situations.
Some of these new types of thermometers are quicker and more reliable at reading temperatures than others, and we’ll try to cover these important pieces of information.
Regular Digital Thermometers
These are by far the most reliable and accurate types of Thermometers, if used correctly and in the correct location.
Digital Thermometers use a digital heat sensor that can usually measure the body temperature in a mater of seconds. These can usually be used to perform Armpit, Oral and Rectum readings (some models might be counter indicated for some type of reading, please check manufacturer instructions).
The digital thermometer works by having the heat sensor or probe in contact with the selected, and manufacturer indicated area.
Special considerations must be taken if used for Oral readings, such has time interval after eating or drinking, and also the same digital thermometer should not be used for performing both Oral and Rectum readings.
Digital Ear Thermometer
Ear Thermometers also know and Tympanic Thermometers are extremely fast and very accurate if used correctly.
Digital Ear Thermometer work by having its probe placed inside the Ear and using an Infrared sensor to measure the temperature of the Tympanic Membrane that is at the end of the ear canal.
They can usually only be used on the Ear to measure temperature, but there are a few models available with double function that allow measurements to be taken on the Forehead or Temple.
Special considerations must be taken with regards to positioning. Incorrect positioning of the probe inside the Ear can lead to inaccurate readings. Ear wax is also a factor to have in mind in that it can affect readings. They are not recommended for small children due to small ear canal.
Digital Forehead Thermometers
There are essentially two types of Digital Forehead Thermometers: Infrared (or non contact) and Touch (contact) . They differ on the technology used to perform the measurement.
Digital Infrared Forehead Thermometers
The Digital Infrared Forehead Thermometers, like the Digital Ear Thermometers, are extremely fast and very accurate if used correctly, following the manufacturer instructions.
Infrared Forehead Thermometers work using an Infrared sensor to measure the temperature on the forehead, by performing a swipe motion across the Forehead from temple to temple, or by remaining stationary in a particular location (usually the Temple), depending of the manufacturer instructions. They are non contact.
Because they use the exact same technology as Digital Ear Thermometers, some models have a double function and allow for inner Ear readings by using a different probe.
Special considerations must be taken with regards to movement of the location the measurement is being taken from, as it can lead to inaccurate readings.Digital Infrared Forehead Thermometers are indicated to use in small children.
Digital Touch Forehead Thermometers
Digital Touch Forehead Thermometers are fast and fairly accurate, but usually not as fast a Digital Thermometer that uses Infrared sensors.
Digital Touch Forehead Thermometers work by using a special digital heat sensor to measure the temperature on the Temple. They require contact with skin to perform the reading.
Special considerations must be taken with regards to movement of the location the measurement is being taken from, as it can lead to inaccurate readings.
Forehead Strip Thermometers
Forehead Strip Thermometers are very inaccurate. These are not recommended.
Forehead Strip Thermometers are small strips of plastic that contains a heat sensitive material that changes color when in contact with the forehead skin, or any other source of heat.
These are usually only good for one use and should be discarded afterwards. As for the position of the Strip Thermometer, manufacturer instructions should be followed.
Special considerations must be taken with regards with overall lack of accuracy.
Pacifier Thermometers are Regular Digital Thermometers shaped like a pacifier for children.
As with any Oral reading, it takes some time, and therefore Pacifier Thermometers are not as fast as a Regular Digital Thermometer used under the Armpit or Rectum.
Special considerations must be taken with regards with movement in the mouth of the child. Movement can produce less accurate readings, which makes this type of thermometer generally less accurate as other types.
Mercury Glass Thermometers
Mercury Glass Thermometers are quite accurate but not fast.
Mercury Glass Thermometers use mercury, encapsulated inside the Glass container to perform its reading. The heat of the location on the body makes the mercury expand inside the Glass container which contain a scale.
These Thermometers should be replaced in favor of a digital counterpart. A broken Mercury Glass Thermometer is not only an health hazard because of the glass, but because of the mercury which is extremely poisonous.