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Yesterday, we shared a tip about adding a finger pulse oximeter to your travel health kit. An oximeter can be used to monitor changes in your respiratory condition and can potentially provide early warning signs about COVID. (See this opinion piece in the New York Times by an emergency room doctor for more information.) Since that tip was so well-received, today, we’re sharing a tip about another tool I’ve added to my toiletry bag: A non-contact infrared thermometer (NCIT).
I’ve always had an old-school, under-the-tongue thermometer in my house to monitor fevers but once we had kids, we had to get with the times. You try taking a toddler’s temperature under the tongue! Initially, I upgraded to a forehead thermometer, where you simply place the thermometer against your child’s forehead for an easy and non-invasive reading. But our son still wouldn’t sit still long enough for it to work and was always trying to see what was going on with the thermometer or worse, would start flipping out like he was getting a needle or something. So what should be a very simple process just never was.
With the rise of COVID-19, it’s important for everyone to have a thermometer in their home and when they travel to monitor their temperature to detect a fever, one of the early and most common symptoms of COVID-19. NOTE: A fever is only one of the symptoms of COVID-19; you may be asymptomatic and still carry the virus while showing no signs. So we have upgraded yet again, this time to a non-contact, infrared thermometer. Not only is this kind of thermometer great for kids since you don’t actually have to touch them with it but during a pandemic, but it’s easy to use and is great to have at home or on the road so that you can take the temperature of friends or family you may be seeing, while maintaining your distance and not having to touch them. It’s just another great tool to have in your health toolbox as you try to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy.
According to the FDA, NCITs “may be used to reduce cross-contamination risk and minimize the risk of spreading disease” and describe the benefits as follows:
Benefits of NCITs
- Non-contact approach may reduce the risk of spreading disease between people being evaluated
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean and disinfect
- Measures temperature and displays a reading rapidly
- Provides ability to retake a temperature quickly
Before using an NCIT, the FDA website says that it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and to disinfect between uses. You can find all of the FDA’s tips and guidelines related to NCITs here.
If you need to add a non-contact infrared thermometer to your health arsenal or just want to upgrade your current thermometer, here are some options on Amazon to consider. This particular one by iHealth (pictured above) has 47,000+ global ratings and is, at the time of this publication, on sale for $34.99 instead of $59.99, a savings of $25.