What is a thermometer?
A medical thermometer is an instrument that is used to measure the temperature of the human or animal body. To measure the temperature, a thermometer can be placed at various locations of the body such as orally, under the armpit (axillary temperature) or through the rectum (rectal temperature).
What are the Types of Medical Thermometers?
1. Analogue (Mercury-Based in Glass):
Measures the body temperature through the thermal expansion of the metal. Although, the risk of exposure to mercury has reduced its popularity compared to its advanced counterparts.
Precautions to be taken prior to the use of a mercury-based thermometer:
- Device needs to be shaken to reset temperature below 35°C (95°F) before each use.
- Use should be limited as far as possible and especially avoided for pregnant or young patients.
- Not recommended for a baby or an infant.
2. Electronic or Digital:
Measures oral, rectal or armpit temperature by means of a thermistor. They provide quick and highly accurate results and have an LCD display for viewing the measured temperature. These are generally known to be safer for medical use and considered environmentally friendly.
3. Infrared or No Contact:
Measures thermal radiation that is emitted from the forehead and ear to infer body temperature. IR thermometers are easy to use, highly accurate and budget friendly.
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