What Are the Different Types of Digital and Electronic Thermometers?
When it comes to matters of health, it’s important to go back to basics. For many of us, thermometers aren’t a daily-use item. (Of course, that might’ve shifted in the wake of COVID-19.) Point being, there’s no shame in quickly reviewing the “how tos” of using a digital thermometer.
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Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of digital thermometers:
“Regular” Digital Thermometers: Most digital thermometers can record temperatures from the mouth, armpit or rectum, the latter of which may cause discomfort in infants. Additionally, oral readings require the patient to refrain from eating or drinking 15 minutes prior to getting a reading. For both the oral and armpit methods, movement — breathing through the mouth, fidgeting — may affect the accuracy.
Digital Ear Thermometers (Tympanic Thermometers): These devices use an infrared ray to measure the temperature inside the ear canal. Although quick, accurate and fairly comfortable, in-ear thermometers aren’t recommended for newborns — and too much earwax, or a curved ear canal, might affect the readings.
Temporal Artery Thermometers: Colloquially dubbed “forehead thermometers,” these devices also use infrared technology to measure the temperature of the temporal artery in the forehead. By far, these are the most comfortable thermometers — and they’re great for all ages. The only drawback? They’re usually pricier.
Experts recommend steering clear of pacifier thermometers (difficult to use), smartphone thermometers (inaccurate) and mercury thermometers (obvious reasons there).