Infrared body temperature thermometers allow the user to read the temperature of any individual without the need for contact, offering the subject in turn a non evasive and more comfortable experience (1). With an infrared scanner, you need only point at the forehead of the subject from a distance, and if coupled with proper PPE, this can provide a very safe way of monitoring patients and members of the public for infection. These scanners now play a vital role in identifying potential infections at airports and businesses as well as medical facilities.
Body Temperature scanners are FDA approved, rating their ability to read temperature quickly and safely. They are easy to clean and disinfect, a distinct advantage in infection control (2).
Our scanners operate a built-in laser pointer, which provides a precise non-contact infrared measurement, at a distance of between 1cm and 15cm. Although greater accuracy is attained at closer distances, for general scanning purposes a distance of 10cm – 15cm should be sufficient to detect febrile individuals (3).
Applications For Body Temperature Thermometers
The importance of being able to take the subject’s temperature without making contact does not need to be overstated: this allows doctors and nurses to monitor the temperature of patients at a greater distance than any other method, minimising the risk of cross infection.
There is a growing body of evidence that infrared non contact thermometers can be considered accurate enough to be used to detect fever in individuals. A recent review by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health found that of five studies looked at, four expressed in their conclusions that thermal scanners should be considered as reliable when utilised for fever detection (4).
Recently we have seen that infrared thermometers provide airport staff, and increasingly shop and stewarding staff a quick, easy and safe way to identify any persons who are exhibiting a temperature, without exposing themselves to infection. This in turn allows them to identify and isolate any suspected cases of Covid-19, and a whole host of other infectious diseases, and help to manage the spread of infection.
History & Safety
Infrared radiation was identified in 1800 William Herschel, but it took many years and many scientific leaps before remote heat sensing was possible. During WW2 the need for such technology increased rapidly and so was developed rapidly. It was not made available for widespread medical use until the 1950’s, when it was declassified.
Even then, it was not until a 1964 conference at the New York Academy of Sciences, that Dr Theodore Benzinger revealed the first tympanic thermometer (6), which is still in common usage today. This technology was then developed to measure forehead temperature (5), resulting in the forehead scanner we see increasingly in our daily lives.
They are used in any environment where cross infection is a real concern as they provide the user with added protection, making them the safest form of detection for medical professionals and the public.
Why Are Infrared Body Temperature Thermometers The Preferred Medical Choice?
Forehead scanners have been in use for many years, but increasingly we are seeing them more and more in our day to day lives. As they are such a vital, easy and affordable tool in the fight against COVID-19, it is expected that their use will continue to increase over the coming years, as they could well be used at large gatherings, concerts, and sports events. These are just a handful of scenarios in which they could prove invaluable in helping fight the spread of the disease, as the world slowly reopens.
In medicine the infrared thermometer has been mostly used on children for whom other methods of taking temperature are either impossible or impractical (1), which is why the majority of studies into their use have been conducted in a pediatric setting.
As they allow temperature to be read without contacting the subject, they are increasingly being used to detect febrile individuals as a screening method, as they allow the user to maintain the greatest possible distance from the subject while still producing reliable results. When compared to tympanic thermometers, an infrared forehead thermometer allows the scanner to stand around 10-15cm further away (3), reducing the risk of cross infection.
They are also increasingly being recommended for use by private businesses. The FDA suggests that ‘establishments such as businesses, transportation systems, and community organizations’ should be encouraged to use these thermometers as part of their phased reopening (6), and they are already in widespread use in airports and even schools.
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- Whipple H, editor. Thermography and its clinical applications. New York: New York Academy of sciences; 1964.