Having a family to take care of is a huge responsibility, so you need to be prepared for all sorts of issues. It’s especially important to have some sort of plan for diagnosing and preventing health problems. Whether you have children or not, having a basic first aid kit at home should be one of your priorities. This should also include a thermometer so that you can pinpoint a fever if it occurs.
When it comes to thermometers, though, the choice is not so clear-cut anymore. In the past, people just used to have mercury thermometers at home, which you would put in your mouth or armpit. The readings might not be so accurate with these, especially if you have children and/or babies to consider. Plus, having anything filled with mercury is always a safety risk.
Some people might still prefer the old-fashioned way, but we should be aware of the types of thermometers now available in the market. Let’s see which one is most convenient:
Choosing the Right Thermometer for Your Family
Thermometers come in many shapes, sizes, and types. You have food thermometers, oven thermometers, and outdoor thermometers that tell you the daily temperature. For humans, use, however, we need thermometers that are especially designed to work with our body and determine its internal temperature.
What’s more, a thermometer for your family needs to be able to work with different age groups. Let’s have a look at the choices we have and how convenient they might be:
Digital thermometers are a modern and popular alternative to mercury thermometers. They’re available at almost any pharmacy or drugstore. You can choose from a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and brands when you go for a regular digital thermometer. Their easy availability and relatively low prices make these thermometers a fairly convenient option.
A digital thermometer is also quite convenient to use; you can put it in the mouth or the armpit. Some might even be placed in the rectum if necessary. Most models deliver their readings very quickly and with great accuracy.
Again, though, we have to keep in mind that these regular thermometers require sitting still for a few minutes. They’re hence not really suitable for use with babies or very small children. The accuracy might also be affected if you’re taking an oral reading and the patient has eaten or drank something just before this.
You can also find several new kinds of digital thermometers on the market now. Some of them can even take readings from the ear, forehead, or at some distance from the patient. The thermometer might even give off a tone or beep when the reading is done. Below, we’ll discuss these different types as well as their convenience factor:
A forehead thermometer is quite easy to use, especially when you have a baby. All you have to do is swipe the drive across the forehead. In some cases, the thermometer needs to be pressed against the forehead in order to give a reading. This type is most convenient for parents of young children, toddlers, or babies. The child might try to squirm away from mercury or digital thermometers, so it’s much more comfortable with the non-intrusive, quick forehead thermometer.
Another convenience here is that you can easily take the child’s temperature when they’re asleep. In some cases, it might be necessary to monitor the baby’s temperature over a period of time, so using a thermometer like this is useful if you don’t want to wake them up.
The forehead thermometer will also usually get you the reading very quickly. However, they could emit a beep that might be inconvenient if you’re trying not to disturb the child.
If you’re thinking about getting a forehead thermometer, keep in mind that it’s also one of the most expensive kinds available today. Another inconvenient factor is that the thermometer might not always be absolutely accurate, so you’d need to take a few readings and calculate their average. This will eliminate the convenient time-saving feature, so make your decision accordingly.
Finally, the forehead thermometer is heat-sensitive. Environmental changes might decrease its accuracy, which isn’t great. Plus, a sweaty body can change the temperature of the forehead. You might want to read up on the best forehead thermometer reviews before making up your mind.
Also called a tympanic thermometer, this device makes use of infrared technology for reading the temperature inside the ear. You insert the tip into the ear canal (for both babies and adults) and press a button to get the reading.
The biggest convenience of these thermometers is that it usually takes just a few seconds to get your reading. This saves us a lot of time, which is perfect for concerned parents. Yes, the device is mildly intrusive, but it won’t be in the ear for too long.
What’s even better is that this is a very reliable way of taking anyone’s temperature. You just have to be careful about inserting it properly inside the ear canal.
On the other hand, some babies might be extremely fussy about letting the thermometer near their ears. Parents might have to pull ears and tilt heads to get a good reading, which is usually uncomfortable for children of any age. A squirming child or baby will compromise the accuracy of the reading. In fact, an ear thermometer isn’t recommended for babies under six months of age.
Keep in mind that these devices can’t be used in the case of a large buildup of earwax or an ear infection.
Digital Pacifier Thermometers
Another version that might be good for your baby is the digital pacifier thermometer. If a baby already has the pacifier habit, it could be very comfortable for them to take their temperature this way. With regular digital and infrared thermometers, the baby still has to go through something unfamiliar and probably frightening for them. With the pacifier model, they hopefully wouldn’t rebel much.
You can also have some fun with these thermometers, as they usually emit a musical tone when the reading is finally completed. What’s even better is that many models can keep a record of the previous temperatures. This convenient factor might also be true of some forehead or ear thermometers.
Two more convenient features of digital pacifier thermometers are durability and a backlight. These types of thermometers aren’t easily broken, even when handled by infants. The backlight will make sure you can read the temperature properly even when it’s dark.
Unfortunately, these pacifier thermometers aren’t always accurate. They also come with a nipple, which might or might not be suitable for sterilizing.
If the baby is crying or throwing a tantrum, these thermometers won’t be able to help you much. The same goes for babies or toddlers who aren’t used to a pacifier at all.
Since the baby will have to hold the pacifier in their mouth for at least a few minutes, this may not be the most convenient option for many parents. Add this to the fact that many digital pacifier thermometers are available at a relatively higher price than their counterparts, and you have to wonder whether it’s worth the extra money.
From the discussion above, it’s evident that the most convenient and overall best thermometer will vary according to one’s needs and requirements. People who want to routinely check the temperature of their infant, for example, would probably be best off investing in something like the Simplife forehead thermometer. Such thermometers help to check and analyze a baby’s temperature within one second. For adults, the most convenient choice might be something a bit different.
In any case, check the pros and cons before deciding on the thermometer of your choice. Before making any purchase, make sure to double-check the instructions and the packaging. After all, this is a tool that can play a significant role in your family’s health. Consult a health professional or the manufacturer directly if you have any concerns or doubts after the purchase.