Mercury thermometers had been used traditionally to determine whether you or your child has a fever. However, due to the dangers of mercury, many digital devices like oral thermometers, rectal thermometers, and even ear thermometers have risen in popularity nowadays. These new types of feature digital screen displays that make temperature reading a whole lot easier. But do you know how to check fever with an ear thermometer? A digital-display ear thermometer is one of the most non-invasive methods to check a child’s temperature. Nevertheless, using a digital ear thermometer should follow the correct technique to obtain accurate readings.
Things to Know Before Using an Ear Thermometer
What is the normal temperature in your ear?
Body temperatures can be taken via probing the armpit, anus, oral cavity, forehead, and ear. However, the normal temperatures in each region may vary. For ear temperature, the normal value is 99.1°F (37.3°C) to 98.6°F (37.6°C).
What value is considered fever with an ear thermometer?
When a child has a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher in an ear thermometer, this is already a possible fever. Although a rectal thermometer is the most accurate method for children under two years of age, experts suggest taking about 2-3 readings with an ear thermometer to ensure accuracy.
When is it not safe to use an ear thermometer?
Ear thermometers can be a bit tricky to use. You may have inaccurate readings when a buildup of ear wax is present in the ear. To get accurate readings, let the doctor remove the wax carefully using an appropriate device or ear drops to flush it out. Do not attempt to remove the wax yourself because the surface of the ear is as very delicate. Even small scratches can cause swelling and pain. You should also avoid taking ear temperature if the patient experiences ear pain, infection, or recent surgery.
Can you use an ear thermometer to check the oral temperature?
Do not attempt to take oral temperature using an ear thermometer. The ear temperature reading would not be accurate if you use it in the oral cavity because the calibrations are different.
Steps on How to Use Ear Thermometers Correctly
Step 1 – Check ears
In order to get an accurate ear thermometer reading, you need to ensure that the patient’s ears are clean. Wax buildup in the ear canal will inhibit the ear thermometer from obtaining an accurate reading.
Step 2 – Sanitize
You use alcohol packets to clean the tip of your digital thermometer. You can also use these wipes, or a clean cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove any residue on the outer surface of the ear. Some ear thermometers have disposable sterile tips to reduce the chance of spreading infections. If so, place a new sterile tip over the thermometer probe.
Step 3 – Adjust ear position
The probe of the ear thermometer must be inserted deep enough to create a seal. The thermometer will bounce an infrared signal off the inner eardrum to get the temperature. Always remember not to let the probe touch the eardrum. However, the ear canal should be as upright as possible. This way, you can ensure the most accurate reading.
Step 4 – Temperature reading
Once the thermometer is secured in the ear canal, you can begin the temperature reading process. Most thermometers will require you to hold the probe in place until it beeps or light flashes. Store any temperatures taken in the digital unit. Digital ear thermometers work faster and are more accurate compared to other types.
Step 5 – Sanitize the thermometer
Resanitize your ear thermometer before returning it to its packaging. You can do so by wiping the tip with an alcohol wipe or cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol. Let it dry completely to avoid harboring germs and to keep your thermometer in pristine condition.
Step 6 – Store in a safe place
If your digital thermometer requires batteries, remove them first before storing your device. Some batteries may leak and can cause damage to the device and its terminals. The battery life will also be affected if you failed to remove them. However, some medical devices have uniquely made batteries that are not easily removable. So, always read the instructions thoroughly to determine storage dos and don’ts.
A digital infrared ear thermometer is useful in determining fever. It can give fast and accurate results if you know how to use it correctly. Equipping yourself with the knowledge on how to check fever with an ear thermometer can significantly help in caring for your or your child’s health. However, it is always best to seek the advice of a medical professional before administering any medical regimen. They still are the best sources to determine which will work or won’t work for you. Know more about first aid.