How To Use a Digital Thermometer — A Guide

Quick, efficient and easy to use, digital thermometers are an increasingly popular choice for both domestic and professional users. There are two main types of digital thermometer: digital ear and forehead thermometers and digital thermometers designed for aural, rectal and underarm use. Both types of thermometer provide fast, accurate readings, giving health professionals invaluable diagnostic information.

In order to ensure that readings taken from a digital thermometer are as accurate and as useful as possible, the device needs to be used and read correctly. To help you precisely assess yourself, your child, or your patient, we’re looking at how to take a temperature with a digital thermometer.


How To Use a Digital Thermometer?

 In most cases, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals will be shown how to take a temperature with a digital thermometer as part of their workplace training. However, it’s always a good idea to refresh your knowledge on the subject on a regular basis, especially as products, guidelines and standard practices change over time.

 Before using a digital thermometer, you’ll first need to know if the device is designed to go in the ear, under the tongue, in the rectum or under the arm. Some in-ear devices can also be used to take infrared forehead readings.


How To Use a Digital Ear Thermometer?

Welcare Digital Thermometer 60 second reading time, no backlit screen Welcare Digital Thermometers

Instructions on how to use a digital ear thermometer should come with your device. These instructions will give you a precise idea of exactly how your thermometer works and how to get the best results.


In general, your reading will be most accurate if the thermometer is placed in the correct position. Most digital ear thermometers require you to pull the ear gently back and out so that the probe can fit snugly into the ear canal. Once the thermometer is in position, wait until the device beeps. This will tell you that the reading has been taken successfully. In some cases, you may need to press a button to trigger the device.

The thermometer should only take a few seconds to take the reading. It’s important that the patient remains still until the reading is complete.

Once the patient’s temperature has been taken, the results will be displayed on the small digital screen on the side of the thermometer. In most cases, you’ll be able to choose whether to see results displayed in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit. Some thermometers also give you the option to save readings for future comparison.

Your digital ear thermometer should be cleaned and sterilized after each use to avoid infection.


How Do You Use a Digital Thermometer on the Forehead?

Terumo Digital Thermometer Terumo Digital Thermometers Axillary Type White 

Non-contact forehead thermometers are a good option for people who need fast, hygienic temperature readings. As they don’t touch the skin of the patient, they can be used on multiple people without the need for sterilization.


When using a digital forehead thermometer, it’s always best to read the manufacturer’s guidelines before you begin. This will help to ensure your readings are as accurate as possible.


In most cases, you’ll need to hold the thermometer around 2-3cm from the patient’s forehead. Once in position, press the main button on the thermometer’s handle to trigger the reading. It’s important to maintain a steady distance from the patient’s forehead until the thermometer beeps to indicate the reading is complete.


How To Use a Digital Thermometer in the Mouth?

Before using a digital mouth thermometer, it’s important to clean and sterilize the device thoroughly. When you’re ready, place the thermometer under the patient’s tongue, towards the back of their mouth.

Ask them to close their lips around the thermometer. You’ll then need to wait until the device beeps or flashes to show the reading is complete before removing it. Some devices require you to trigger the reading manually using a large button on the front of the thermometer.


How To Read a Digital Thermometer Under the Arm?

In many cases, digital thermometers used for aural readings can also be used to take readings from under the arm. This is often a good option if the patient has a sore throat or is very young.


When taking a temperature under arm with a digital thermometer, you’ll need to place the device directly against the skin and hold the arm gently against it. If you’re not sure how long to leave the digital thermometer under arm, simply wait until the device beeps or flashes to indicate the reading is complete, or check the manufacturer’s instructions.


How To Take Baby Temperature with Digital Thermometer

If you’re taking the temperature of a young baby, you’ll need to use an under arm digital thermometer or a forehead thermometer. If you’re unsure where to take the temperature with a digital thermometer, opt for an under arm reading as the baby is less likely to move and cause an inaccurate result.

Older children can have their temperature taken with ear, mouth, armpit or forehead devices.

Whichever method you choose, make sure the child stays as still as possible for the duration of the reading. If they move, you may need to take multiple readings in order to get an accurate result.

Can You Use a Digital Thermometer for Basal Temp?

The basal temperature is an indicator of when a woman is ovulating. A lot of women track this temperature throughout their menstrual cycle in order to improve their chances of conceiving.

Digital thermometers can be used to check a woman’s basal temperature. However, it’s often better to invest in a specialist basal body thermometer as these are more sensitive than standard digital thermometers and so are more likely to produce an accurate result. Basal thermometers often also come with a choice of programmes and memory options to make it easy to monitor your temperature during ovulation.

Learn more about digital thermometers, and the high quality products we offer, by exploring our range or getting in touch with a member of our team today.

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