Thermometers are essential pieces of medical equipment that every family should have. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, thermometers have become even more critical.
One of the symptoms of the coronavirus is a fever of 104 degF or higher. So, if you think you have a high fever, then you need an accurate thermometer to check your temperature. But with thermometers being in high demand, where do you buy a thermometer?
The goal of this article is to teach you about thermometers, why they’re essential, and where to buy a thermometer.
What is a Thermometer?
According to the dictionary, a thermometer is an instrument that measures and indicates the temperature of something (e.g., your body and meat). Digital thermometers are the most common type of thermometer used today.
They are used in the home and in the industry, in applications including scientific and medical procedures and testing, manufacturing, and food preparation (e.g., a meat thermometer). Liquid thermometers used to be the most commonly associated image of a temperature meter. Still, digital thermometers are becoming more popular due to their accuracy, safety, and how easy they are to use.
Digital thermometers work using batteries and don’t require charging. Most of the batteries in thermometers can’t be changed, but some can. There is a numerical reading on the digital thermometer, usually given to one decimal place. This makes them more accurate than liquid thermometers.
The normal axillary temperature range is between 96.6 and 98 degF. The axillary temperature is typically a degree lower when you measure temperature orally, and two degrees lower than the rectal temperature.
The average body temperatures based on age are below:
Babies & Children: 97.9 to 99 degF
Adults: 97 to 99 degF
Adults over 65: Lower than 98.6 degF
What is a Thermometer Made From?
Micrometer Sleeve Scale. This is the probe on a digital thermometer that is generally thin and long and has a pointed tip. The tip is the only part of the thermometer that detects temperature because it’s left bare. At the same time, the rest is plastic.
Probe Cap. The cap is used to protect the probe when the thermometer isn’t in use. Not every digital thermometer comes with a cap.
Display. The display of a thermometer is typically LCD (liquid crystal display) and will show you the temperature, usually to one decimal place.
Hold Button. The hold button allows you to keep the reading on the LCD screen or display the maximum temperature reading of a session. How it works depends on the model, so read the provided instructions to get clarity on how it works.
Unit Change Button. This button allows you to change the reading between degC and degF.
Sensor. This is the most important part of a thermometer because it’s what is used to get the most accurate reading. There are three types of sensors: resistance temperature detector (RTD), thermocouple, and thermistor.
How to Properly Use a Thermometer
To properly take your temperature, you must wait 30 minutes after exercising, drinking, or eating. Additionally, you must wait at least six hours after taking medication that can lower your temperature, like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Aspirin.
When it’s time to check your temperature, start by turning on the thermometer by pressing the button near the screen. You then want to hold the tip of the thermometer under your tongue until it beeps – avoid biting the thermometer. Read the temperature off the screen. If your temperature is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you have a fever.
After taking your temperature, always wash it off using soap and water. If you’re experiencing symptoms of illness, the CDC recommends that you take your temperature at least two times a day (morning and night). Plus, you should write down your temperatures for at least 14 days.
Why are Thermometers So Important?
Thermometers are important because if you have a fever and you don’t know about it, you could be putting other people at risk. Knowing that you have a fever will prevent you from spreading disease, such as the coronavirus, to the people around you. This is why it’s so important to have a thermometer.
Companies, such as Wal-Mart, have begun testing their employees’ temperatures before they’re allowed to work each day. This is to help prevent the spread of contamination of the coronavirus to their customers.
What Can I Do To Prevent the Coronavirus Disease at Home?
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus at home, there are everyday preventative actions that you and your family can take. Make sure to remind everyone in your household about the importance of practicing these everyday preventative measures:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue
- Stay home when you’re sick, except to receive medical care
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., countertops, doorknobs, light switches) using water and regular household cleaner.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, and before you eat.
By following these CDC guidelines, you’ll help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and keep you and your family safe.
How Long Does the Coronavirus Last on Surfaces?
The coronavirus can last for hours, even days, on surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops. How long it can survive depends on the type of material the surface is made out of.
Here is a guide to how long the coronavirus can live on specific surfaces that you and your family probably tough every day. Keep in mind that these can change because researchers are still learning about the virus.
Metal. Examples include silverware, jewelry, and doorknobs. The coronavirus can last on these surfaces for up to five days.
Wood. Examples include decking and furniture. The coronavirus can last on these surfaces for up to four days.
Plastic. Examples include packagings, like detergent bottles and milk bottles. The coronavirus can last on these surfaces for two to three days.
Stainless Steel. Examples include pans and bots, refrigerators, and sinks. The coronavirus can last on these surfaces for two to three days.
Cardboard. Examples include shipping boxes. The coronavirus can last on these surfaces for up to 24 hours.
Copper. Examples include cookware and pennies. The coronavirus can last on these surfaces for up to four hours.
Aluminum. Examples include soda cans, water bottles, and tinfoil. The coronavirus can last on these surfaces for two to eight hours.
Glass. Examples include windows, mirrors, and drinking glasses. The coronavirus can last on these surfaces for five days.
Ceramics. Examples include mugs, pottery, and dishes. The coronavirus can last on these surfaces for five days.
Paper. The length of time varies for paper. There are some strands of the coronavirus that can live for only a couple minutes, while others can live up to five days.
Food & Water. The coronavirus doesn’t spread in food or drinking water. However, you should always wash your produce before you eat them.
Different Types of Thermometers
Choosing the best thermometer for your family is difficult because you have to find one that will work best for everyone. To help you out, here’s a list of the most popular thermometers.
Digital thermometers utilize electronic heat sensors to gauge body temperature. They are used in the armpit, mouth, or rectum. Digital thermometers are the most popular option because they are easy to use and can take accurate temperature readings in less than a minute. You might also find them marketed as instant-read thermometers.
However, armpit temperatures are the least accurate, and the rectal temperature is the best option for infants, those three months or younger, and children up to the age of three. For adults and older children, the most accurate reading will come from an oral thermometer– as long as the mouth is closed while the temperature is in place under the tongue.
- Most thermometers can take a temperature in a minute or less
- Digital stick thermometers are appropriate for adults, children, infants, and newborns
- Digital sick thermometers can take a baby’s temperature without much discomfort
- You have to wait at least 15 minutes after drinking or eating to get an accurate oral temperature
- It can be hard for children to keep their mouths closed long enough to get an accurate reading
Digital Ear Thermometer
Tympanic thermometers, or commonly called digital ear thermometers, use an infrared ray to measure the temperature inside the ear canal.
- When the thermometer is positioned correctly, they are quick and comfortable for adults and children
- Ear thermometers can work for adults, infants older than six months, and older children
- Newborns can’t use these thermometers
- Earwax or a small, curved ear canal can interfere with the accuracy of the thermometer
Digital Pacifier Thermometer
If you have a child that still uses a pacifier, this type of thermometer might be worth looking into. You only need your child to suck on the pacifier thermometer until it records the highest temperature.
- Children might not even realize you’re taking their temperature
- Newborns can’t use these thermometers
- For an accurate reading child’s temperature reading, they must have the pacifier in their mouth for three to five minutes.
- There is recent research that doesn’t support the accuracy of the temperature readings from pacifier thermometers
Temporal artery thermometers, commonly called forehead thermometers, are infrared thermometers that take the temperature of your forehead (your temporal artery). These can also be called laser temperature guns.
- They can record your temperature quickly and are easy to use
- They are appropriate for infants older than three months and older children
- Forehead thermometers are the most accurate alternative to rectal thermometers
- They can be expensive
Once used by everyone for a medicinal reason, mercury thermometers used mercury that was encased in glass to measure your body temperature. However, mercury glass thermometers aren’t recommended anymore because they can easily break and allow toxic mercury to escape.
If you still have a mercury thermometer, don’t throw it away. Call your local trash collection program and see if they have a hazardous waste collection site nearby. If you have a broken thermometer, call poison control as quickly as possible.
What to Look for
There are several things that you should look for before you purchase a thermometer.
Accuracy. This is the essential thing that you should look for when purchasing a thermometer. You want to have an accurate thermometer when you’re trying to gauge if you have a fever or not. So, you should pick a thermometer that is recommended by medical specialists.
Suitability. Be specific about the age(s) that you’re buying the thermometer for. While some ages can use one thermometer, others are exclusively for an infant’s body for it to work properly. Make sure to read through the specifics to ensure that the thermometer you’re looking at will be fitting on adults and older children.
Celsius or Fahrenheit. Which unit do you want your thermometer to quantify? Make sure that the thermometer that you pick will provide you with an accurate reading in degF or degC, whichever you want.
Speed. If you’re on the hunt for a thermometer for an infant, you want something that is going to be quick. You don’t want to have to hold them down longer than a few seconds since they have a low tolerance for goading and jabbing.
Backlit Display. Some thermometers have backlit displays, which are preferable if you’re using them at night. This is especially true if you have a baby because it will make your life easier.
Top Brands You Can Trust
With so many brands on the market for thermometers, it’s important to know which brands are going to be dependable and accurate during this crisis. Braun, White Coat, and Kinsa are all great brands that will last you during this crisis and provide you with the most accurate readings. So, if you can find these brands, they’re worth the money.
What to Do When You Don’t Have a Thermometer
Knowing the symptoms that come with a fever is one of the best ways to figure out if you have one or not when you don’t have a thermometer. For instance, people with a fever tend to experience:
Body Weakness and Aches. Body weakness, aches, and headaches are common in people with fevers. Aches often come with viruses like the flu or cold due to the inflammation from the body’s immune response to the virus.
Chills. Most people who have a fever experience shivering or chills, even when you have a high temperature. This is because your body is trying to raise your temperature to deal with the cause of the fever. Also, if you feel chilled, you should dress in light layers to help your body fight the virus.
Flushing. Most people experience flushing or red cheeks when they have a fever. This happens because the body opens blood vessels to increase blood flow to the skin, making it look flushed.
Dehydration and Sweating. Many people will experience sweating. This is your body’s way of attempting to regulate temperature and cool you down. But this can be dangerous if you’re not drinking enough. Watch for signs of dehydration, including confusion, excessive thirst, and dry mouth.
You can also test your temperature by gauging how you feel; feeling like you have a fever is one of the most accurate ways of knowing you have a fever. If you feel hot or chilled, the chances are high that you have a fever.
If you live with someone, have them touch their forehead and then yours to test to see if you feel hot. This is an effective way to know if you have a fever, especially if you have other symptoms.
Where to Buy a Thermometer – Our Recommendations
Like many essential products, most local stores and pharmacies are sold out of thermometers. Luckily, Essential Goods keeps an updated list of thermometers and shows you when they’re back in stock on Amazon. You can check them out below and sign up to our site to receive notifications on when products are back in stock.