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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Infrared Thermometer, is it safe?

Have you had your temperature measured with an infrared thermometer? Are they safe?

Infrared Thermometer, is it safe?

Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19 that can occur in a person infected with the virus between days 1 and 14 after infection. Therefore, clinical instruments that can assist in the early detection of persons possibly infected with COVID-19 are essential.


Due to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus, in the #NewNormal many supermarkets, companies, hospitals, hotels, airports, restaurants, shopping centers, among other establishments, have implemented temperature taking with Infrared Thermometers that are ideal for measuring the body temperature of people entering the establishment, patients or employees, without the need for direct contact, helping to reduce the spread of the virus.


Since there is a great need to take temperatures quickly for many people, non-contact thermometers have become the most widely used.


Gun-shaped infrared thermometers are also called laser or non-contact thermometers. These devices offer efficiency, much speed, and accuracy in detecting fever.


During the Coronavirus pandemic, social networks were in charge of making viral an alert message that caused fear in many people about the use of Infrared Thermometers and their alleged eye, retina, and vision damages. As people begin to resume their normal lives and go out more, these body temperature measurements are essential for the general public. Using a conventional thermometer increases the possibility of contagion. 


The Infrared Thermometer does not use a laser beam to measure a person's temperature but uses infrared rays that detect body temperature without impacting the retina. For these thermometers to be marketed, the manufacturer must justify its correct and safe operation through calibration and precision tests beforehand.


There is a type of Thermometer that does pose a risk to sight as they have class III lasers; however, these thermometers are intended for industrial use only and are not suitable for taking the temperature of human beings.


The FDA, which is the U.S. Government agency that regulates drugs, food, cosmetics, and medical devices, on its website mentioned that infrared thermometers "can be used to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and minimize the risk of spreading disease" without ever mentioning that they pose a risk to eyesight. 


Are the temperature measurements on the arm or wrist correct?


Generally, most infrared thermometers' specifications recommend that the temperature measurement be taken as parallel as possible to the person's forehead, ensuring that the area is clear of any hair, scarves, hats, or caps that might alter the measurement result. 


Therefore, the way to obtain a correct measurement of the temperature is to make the measurement pointing towards the person's forehead perpendicularly.

Pros of Infrared Thermometers

  • Reduces the risk of the spread of COVID-19 

  • They are very fast and show the temperature reading instantly

  • Light and compact

  • They are easy to use

  • They are easy to clean and disinfect

  • After you have taken a picture, you can continue to take the temperature quickly

  • An important resource for places with a higher flow of people such as hospitals, airports, schools, supermarkets, restaurants, etc.

Cons Infrared Thermometers

  • Excess dust and steam reduce the accuracy of this thermometer

  • The distance for an accurate reading must be adequate 

  • It requires a learning curve for inexperienced people who are going to operate it 

  • The internal cavity of the thermometer sensor must be kept clean before and after use, otherwise, the accuracy of the measurement will be affected.

Use of Infrared Thermometers

  1. The person in charge of using this device must be fully aware of the instructions for that specific Thermometer. The indications may vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

  2. The Thermometer must be pre-set

  3. The person in charge of using this device must follow the cleaning and disinfection instructions for that type of Thermometer. Infrared thermometers should not be immersed in water, alcohol, or other liquids

  4. Place the Thermometer in the room to be used 10 to 30 minutes before use to adapt it to the environment

  5. When taking the temperature, the area where the measurement is to be taken must not be blocked (tissues or other clothing), it must be clean and dry

  6. Keep the area to be measured perpendicular to the Thermometer 

  7. The measurement distance between the person and the Thermometer varies between each brand

  8. It is necessary to keep the sensor of the Infrared Thermometer clean and dry


Remember, measurements are not a substitute for a doctor's diagnosis.

As long as the Non-Contact Infrared Thermometers are used properly, they do not represent a risk of possible eye damage, as these Thermometers do not use lasers to measure body heat, the authorized thermometers measure infrared light; therefore they are not dangerous.

And remember:  Get tested! 
Where can I get a test for COVID-19 in Los Cabos?  Visit our link to find more information about it. 
Why is COVID-19 testing important?  COVID-19 testing is an important way to protect your family, your community, and yourself.
It will save lives!

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