Thermo pro: 5 have-to-knows for using your ear thermometer properly

Ear thermometer technology, alongside innumerable other medical technologies, has come a long way in the 21st Century. Ear thermometers are truly at their most advanced, cutting-edge stage, able to provide the most accurate and efficient reading possible.

However, this doesn’t just come down to placing it in the ear and not knowing what to do next, as there are a few important things to know before using your ear thermometer!

Let’s find out what they are below…

What to know before using an ear thermometer 

The following is a list of things to consider before using an ear thermometer:

  1. What is the normal temperature an ear thermometer should read?

There are different ways you can take accurate temperature readings aside from just the ear, but medical experts agree that there is variation in the proper readings as they come from different parts of the body.

These readings include:

  • Oral reading: 37°C
  • Armpit reading: 7°C – 36.4°C
  • Forehead reading: 7°C – 36.4°C
  • Anal reading: 3°C – 37°C
  • Ear reading: 3°C – 37°C
  1. What ear thermometer reading is considered a fever?

If a child has an ear thermometer reading of 38°C or above, this is evidence that they may have a fever. It is suggested, however, that you take three readings with an ear thermometer to ensure the reading’s accuracy.

  1. Can you use an ear thermometer in the mouth?

This is a big no-no: do not use an ear thermometer in the mouth. Using an ear thermometer in the ear should only be done if the patient’s ears are fine and they are healthy enough to accept the thermometer. The ear thermometer is made to take a patient’s reading exactly there – through the ear – whilst there are oral thermometers that are available to take a patient’s reading through the mouth.

  1. Do you have to add a degree to an ear thermometer

You do not have to add an extra degree to your ear thermometer. Doctors typically have a chart that will determine if a temperature is too high for the type of thermometer being used to take a reading. You may want to ask your doctor if they add a degree to their ear thermometers, but this is generally only helpful when detecting severe fevers and is actually more confusing down the track.

  1. Are there times when I should avoid an ear thermometer

It’s best to avoid using an ear thermometer if the patient has a buildup of wax in their ears, as even cutting-edge thermometers can provide misreadings if this is the case. To provide the most accurate reading in such cases a doctor will have to first remove the wax to allow for an accurate reading to be taken.

A sick person should avoid trying to remove large amounts of wax themselves as their ear is very delicate and sensitive. Even tiny scratches can cause pain and swelling in the ear. You should also avoid using the ear thermometer if the patient has pain or has recently had surgery.

Remember these things before taking a reading

Using an ear thermometer isn’t too difficult, though it is important to know these things before using one, as you want to take the most accurate reading possible so that you don’t potentially misread a fever. Remember that the patient’s ear has to be clean and clear before taking the reading and remind them not to try to clean out large amounts of wax by themselves!

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