Digital Thermometer Buying Guide

nbc311usithe_002carre-jpgIf you suspect someone has a fever the only way to really know is to check using a fever thermometer.  You may be able to tell if he feels too warm by feeling his forehead, but this will not tell you accurately if or how high the patient’s fever may be.    The easiest way to check for a fever is with a digital thermometer.  These come in a few different types such as the oral or rectal thermometer or a thermometer under the arm or in the ear.  Years ago people used a mercury thermometer made of glass, but these have been found unsafe and are not readily available anymore.

The basic digital thermometer is easy to read and inexpensive.  Some thermometers take up to a minute to register while others give a fast 10 second reading.  You may want to consider a thermometer that has a back light for easy reading or you may want one that stores your temperature readings.  If several people in the household will be using the same thermometer you may want to consider one with disposable probe covers.

The rectal thermometer is best to use for young children (under 5) who are not ready to hold the thermometer’s probe under their tongue for a period of time.  These will give the most accurate reading for a young child.

There is also a digital pacifier thermometer for use with very young children (a few months old), however, these are not very accurate and should only be used for screening.

A digital tympanic thermometer takes the temperature in the ear.  These work quickly, but are more expensive than the basic digital thermometers or the pacifier thermometers.  Still another option for taking a temperature is the temporal artery thermometer which is easily placed against the forehead and gives a reading.  These, too, are more expensive than the basic digital thermometer and are not very accurate.

Digital thermometers are available for purchase online or at drug stores, grocery stores, super stores, just about anywhere.  They range in a wide variety of prices from under ten dollars up to a hundred dollars or more.  A basic digital thermometer for general home use does not have to be expensive and it is a good item to have in the home in case of illness.