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Fever is one of the most common symptoms of infectious diseases and inflammatory ailments. Thermometers are usually present in most households. However, if you don’t have a digital thermometer in your house or have the old mercury-based thermometer, it is time to buy or upgrade.

Mercury thermometers are not used anymore for many reasons. Firstly, mercury is a toxic heavy metal that is harmful to the environment. Mercury thermometers are readily breakable; worst of all, they are difficult to use. Some people find it difficult to read the results of old mercury-based thermometers.

Benefits of a Digital Thermometer:

The latest digital thermometers do not contain mercury. Instead, they have electronic sensors. Thus, they are more precise. A digital thermometer has easy-to-read displays. Further, they are safe to use not only in the oral cavity but also in the armpit or anal cavity (rectum). Also, they are easy to clean or sterilize.

Getting the reading of body temperature from the armpit is a comfortable and hygienic way. However, the armpit is also a less precise location. The mouth cavity and anal cavities (rectum) are comparatively accurate but unhygienic/unpleasant methods.

There are two highly precise and modern solutions for measuring body temperature. These are ear thermometers and non-contact forehead thermometers.

An ear thermometer is one of the most precise ways to measure body temperature, though it involves some degree of body contact, it is still a hygienic enough method.

A non-Contact Forehead thermometer is perhaps the most hygienic way to measure body temperature. Nowadays, it is the method of choice in clinical conditions, as the equipment does not require sterilization. This is a point-and-shoot device that can measure the temperature in seconds. It is pointed towards the forehead to measure the body temperature.

The Omron Non-Contact Forehead thermometer is the most hygienic way to measure temperature and has three operating modes. It can tell room temperature, forehead temperature, and calculate or correct oral cavity temperature. Being non-contact means that it’s discomfort-free, completely hygienic, can be used at any age, and can even be used on a sleeping person or a child. However, it is one of the less accurate ways to measure temperature (though accurate enough for clinical use).

Appreciating the Fever:

It is essential to understand that fever is not a disease but instead a defensive reaction of our body. Thus, fever tells us that our immunity is fighting the infection well. The body elevates the temperature in a controlled manner to improve the supply of various nutrients and increase blood flow. Higher body temperature is also inhibitory for the growth of various bacterial infections. However, sometimes body temperature gets out of control and becomes more harmful than beneficial.

Further, the temperature can also help doctors in the diagnosis of diseases. Its acuteness, severity, and pattern can say a lot about the condition. Thus, in malaria, there are periods of high fever followed by periods of comparative relief, while in flu, fever is continually elevated for a few days along with severe muscular aches.

Whatever the temperature, it is vital to monitor it and keep records, as it may indeed help the physician diagnose the condition. One should be careful in suppressing moderate fever without advice from a physician.

Thus, for an accurate measure of body temperature, buy one of the digital thermometers mentioned above. If you have the mercury-based thermometer, it would be a good idea to replace it with a digital one.

Reviewed by Dr. Preet Pal Singh Bhinder