Find the thermometer that is right for you
Mercury glass thermometers, although hard to read, have been used for years to measure temperatures in the rectum, mouth or under the arm (but not the ear). They are no longer recommended because they can break easily and release toxic mercury.
Electronic digital thermometers offer a number of advantages over glass thermometers. They obtain temperature readings faster, and their digital display is easy to read. There is also no risk of injury from broken glass or mercury.
Infrared thermometers measure heat generated by surfaces and cavities. The key advantage of this type of thermometer is its speed – it takes only seconds to obtain a temperature reading.
Infrared ear thermometers measure the heat generated by the eardrum and surrounding tissue. They give an accurate temperature on an easy-to-read digital display in just a few seconds. The ear thermometer most recommended by doctors is Braun ThermoScan®.*
Infrared forehead thermometers use the forehead to take a temperature in a gentle way. Forehead thermometers measure the infrared energy emitted from the skin above the eyebrow area and the surrounding tissue. This energy is collected through the lens and converted to a temperature value. The accuracy of the thermometer depends on the type of technology used. Forehead thermometers can measure temperature by touching the forehead or from a distance. Braun No touch + forehead thermometer is the first and only thermometer that enables you to measure temperature both in touch and no touch mode, with clinically proven accuracy.
How to take the temperature?
Temperatures are taken most commonly in the ear, mouth, bottom, under the arm or on the forehead. Each method is considered accurate when done correctly. Temperature readings can differ slightly depending on the method, so be sure to use the same method for consistency.
Ear measurements are gentle, easy and fast, and thus preferred by many parents. However, the temperature often varies between readings, leading to the misconception that ear thermometers are inaccurate. To minimize this effect, it’s very important to use the correct ear thermometer. Look for one with a small, pre-warmed tip and positioning aid to ensure accurate readings every time.
As with any thermometer, be sure your child is sitting still before taking a reading. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction when using the ear thermometer. Ear readings take only seconds to complete.
When taking temperature with an ear thermometer, pay attention to the following:
- Always take the temperature in the same ear, as the reading in the right ear may naturally differ from that in the left ear.
- External factors may influence ear temperatures, especially when an individual has:
- Been lying on one ear or the other
- Had their ears covered
- Been exposed to very hot or very cold temperatures, or
- Been recently swimming or bathing.
- In these cases, remove these external factors and wait 30 minutes prior to taking a temperature.
- If prescription eardrops or other ear medications have been placed in the ear canal, use the other ear for a temperature reading.
- For accurate readings the ear must be free from obstructions or excess earwax.
- Ear thermometers should not be used if the person has an outer ear infection (otitis externa), as this could result in uncomfortable pain.
- Never take a temperature in an ear that contains blood or any drainage.
Thanks to its advanced technology, the Braun ThermoScan® is one of the most accurate and reliable ear thermometers on the market.
Using the forehead to take a temperature is a gentle way to monitor a fever. Forehead thermometers measure the infrared energy emitted from the skin above the eyebrow area and the surrounding tissue. This energy is collected through the lens and converted to a temperature value.
There are different types of forehead thermometers available on the market – it is important to take the temperature exactly in the way as indicated in the instruction manual to ensure accurate readings.
Taking a temperature with Braun No-touch + forehead is easy:
- Before taking a measurement, remove dirt or hair from the forehead area
- Position the thermometer in front of the forehead in the middle of the eyebrows either touching the forehead or up to 5 cm away using the proximity sensor and aiming light. For patients measuring their own temperature, it is recommended to use the “touch” option instead of “no touch.”
- Take the measurement
- Colour coded fever indicator helps interpret the reading
NOTE: The patient must be indoors for 30 minutes before taking a measurement. The patient and the thermometer should be in the same ambient temperature for at least 10 minutes.
This is a safe and straightforward method for children of all ages.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Make sure your child’s clothing doesn’t come between the thermometer and the skin.
- Tuck the thermometer tip high up in the armpit and hold it in place by lowering your child’s arm and keeping it snug against his/her chest long enough to get the temperature reading.
Oral temperature taking is generally recommended for children who can already easily hold the thermometer in their mouth.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Make sure your child has not had a hot or cold drink within the previous 30 minutes and sits still throughout the process.
- Gently place the tip of the thermometer under one side of your child’s tongue, toward the back of the mouth.
- Instruct your child to hold the thermometer securely in place using its lips and hands. If you use a digital thermometer, which is more resilient than a glass one, your child can bite down to hold the thermometer in place. You may have to help out the first few times by holding it steady.
- The thermometer tip must not be exposed to air flow during breathing because evaporation cools down the sensor. Have your child breathe through their nose.
Taking a baby’s rectal temperature is not difficult and does not have to be uncomfortable for either your baby or yourself. There are some thermometers designed especially for rectal measurements that make it fast and easy.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Place your baby on either its belly or back on a comfortable, firm, flat surface—across your lap, on a changing table, sofa or even on the floor.
- If on its back, hold its legs up, just as you would to change its nappy. If on its belly, position it so that its bottom sticks up a bit by tucking its knees under or letting its legs drape over your lap.
- Dab some lubricating jelly onto the short, round tip of the thermometer.
- Carefully insert the thermometer tip into the rectum (anus) until the metal tip is no longer showing (approximately one centimeter).
* No. 1 in awareness, usage and recommendation. Source:Ipsos, online study among n=802 GPs and Pediatricians in four European markets (n=200 each in GE, UK, FR, NL), fielded May-June 2012.