Thermometers come in a variety of styles. Understand the different types of thermometers and how to pick the right thermometer for you.
Types of thermometers
In general, there are two types of thermometers. Touch, or contact, thermometers must touch the body in order to measure temperature. Remote, or no contact, thermometers can measure body temperature without touching the skin.
The most common kind of contact thermometer uses electronic heat sensors to record body temperature. These thermometers can be used on the forehead, mouth, armpit or rectum. Most electronic thermometers have a digital display that shows you the temperature reading.
Rectal temperatures provide the most-accurate readings for infants, especially those 3 months or younger, as well as children up to age 3. Temperatures taken from the armpit are usually the least accurate. For older children and adults, oral readings are usually accurate — as long as the mouth is closed while the thermometer is in place.
- Most electronic contact thermometers can record temperatures from the forehead, mouth, armpit or rectum — often in less than one minute.
- An electronic contact thermometer is appropriate for newborns, infants, children and adults.
- Parents may worry about causing discomfort when taking a child’s temperature rectally.
- You need to wait 15 minutes after eating or drinking to take an oral temperature. Otherwise, the temperature of your food or drink might affect the thermometer reading.
- It can be difficult for children — or anyone who breathes through the mouth — to keep their mouths closed long enough to get an accurate oral reading.
If you plan to use an electronic contact thermometer to take both oral and rectal temperatures, get two thermometers and label one for oral use and one for rectal use. Don’t use the same thermometer in both places.
Many schools, businesses and health care settings are screening visitors for fever. A remote thermometer that doesn’t require skin contact allows people to remain further apart. Remote thermometers can be used on the forehead (temporal artery) or the ear (tympanic).
Temporal artery thermometers
Remote forehead thermometers use an infrared scanner to measure the temperature of the temporal artery in the forehead.
- A remote temporal artery thermometer can record a person’s temperature quickly and are easily tolerated.
- Remote temporal artery thermometers are appropriate for children of any age.
- A temporal artery thermometer may be more expensive than other types of thermometers.
- This type of thermometer may be less accurate than other types. Direct sunlight, cold temperatures or a sweaty forehead can affect temperature readings. Variations on user technique, such as holding the scanner too far away from the forehead, also may affect accuracy.
Remote ear thermometers, also called tympanic thermometers, use an infrared ray to measure the temperature inside the ear canal.
- When positioned properly, infrared ear thermometers are quick and generally comfortable for children and adults.
- Infrared ear thermometers are appropriate for infants older than age 6 months, older children and adults.
- Infrared ear thermometers aren’t recommended for newborns.
- Earwax or a small, curved ear canal can interfere with the accuracy of a temperature taken with an infrared ear thermometer.
Once a staple in most medicine cabinets, mercury thermometers use mercury encased in glass to measure body temperature. Mercury thermometers are no longer recommended because they can break and allow mercury — which is toxic — to escape.
If you have a mercury thermometer, don’t throw it in the trash. Contact your local trash collection program to see if there’s a hazardous waste collection site in your area.
In Pilot Study, Oxygen Therapy for Moderate Depression Showed Beneficial Effects
In a pilot trial, researchers have reported that treating mild to moderately depressed individuals with oxygen-enriched air had “a significant beneficial effect” on some depression symptoms.
Fifty-one participants completed 4 weeks of the oxygen vs. placebo treatment. The trial was designed to test the idea that delivering oxygen at normal atmospheric pressure (“normobaric”) in moderately higher concentration than ambient air might improve certain aspects of brain function and provide some measure of relief from depression symptoms.
The concept is not to be confused with “hyperbaric” oxygen therapy, or HBOT, which is used in medical facilities around the world to speed healing of carbon monoxide poisoning, gangrene, stubborn wounds, and infections in which tissues are starved for oxygen. Those who receive hyperbaric oxygen must enter a special chamber to breathe pure oxygen at air pressure levels 1.5 to 3 times higher than normal.
The researchers sought to determine whether treating depressed individuals with oxygen that is only moderately enriched, at standard atmospheric pressure, might similarly improve mitochondrial function or affect brain biology in other ways that might be therapeutic.
The team said that the notable differences between the treated and control groups was evident only after 4 continuous weeks of oxygen therapy. While their study was not designed to determine how or why oxygen therapy may have beneficially impacted brain function, they hypothesize that raising the pressure of the dissolved oxygen portion of blood plasma affects oxygen pressure at key enzymes, and perhaps in mitochondria, possibly causing beneficial effects.
The results were encouraging to the team, which said the concept, being “simple, non-invasive, and safe,” merits further exploration in larger replication studies. These would ideally include more patients including some with severe depression symptoms, and might test enhanced oxygen over longer periods and with follow-ups to measure the efficacy and durability of the pilot study’s results.
Do everything in your power.
Current is not the whole story.
Medical teams should never lack the power to save a life. Energy has been proven to best describe the therapeutic dose delivered to the heart.1-5 That’s why LIFEPAK monitor/ defibrillators escalate biphasic energy up to 360J.
Five independently conducted, peer-reviewed cardioversion studies comparing various biphasic waveforms prove that shocks of the same energy provide the same success rates up to 200 joules, even if the level of current is different.
Conversion rates were lower when 200J was repeated for recurrent VF. All were eventually converted with 360J.
Conversion rates increased for VF with each escalating energy dose up to 360J.
Published clinical data strongly points to an association between higher biphasic shock energy (joules) and higher conversion rates for VF/pVT and AF.
- A large volume of published data now exists on biphasic defibrillation. It should be referenced when evaluating proven performance.
- The data shows that at the same low energy biphasic shocks, the most widely used defibrillation waveforms (BTE and RBW) have the same conversion rates from 50J to 200J.
- The data also shows that higher energy biphasic waveforms are associated with higher conversion rates for VF/pVT and AF.
- The 2010 and 2015 AHA Guidelines state full energy biphasic 360J is safe for patients.3,7,14-16 High peak current is a primary cause of myocardial injury.17 Biphasic waveforms use as much as 40% less current than monophasic waveforms.
The only randomized, triple-blinded dosing comparison showed higher conversion rate for VF/pVT when escalating to 360J vs. a fixed protocol.
Conversion rate were lower when 200J was repeated for recurrent VF/pVT. All were eventually converted with 360J.
Conversion rate probability increased in a subset of VF/pVT patients who received shocks at each energy dose. 360J had the highest cumulative rate.
- Alatawi F, et al. Heart Rhythm 2005;2(4):382-87.
- 2 Kim M, et al. Am J Cardiol 2004;94(11):1438-40.
- 3 Neal S, et al. Am J Cardiol 2003;92(7):810-14.
- 4 Deakin C, et al. Circulation 2011;124(21 Suppl):A244.
- 5 Santomauro M, et al. Ital Heart J Suppl. 2004;5(1):36-43.
- 6 Walker R, et al. Resuscitation 2009;80(7):773-7.
- 7 Koster R, et al. Resuscitation. 2008;78:252-257.
Are Allergies Hereditary?
In addition to other factors, such as diet and environment, genetics may play a role in whether you will develop allergies. This is especially true if someone in your family already has allergies.
Learn more about how allergies can be passed down from parents to children, as well as the causes and risk factors for developing allergies.
Multiple studies have shown that allergies are hereditary, or passed down through genes from parents to their children. Children are 50% more likely to develop an allergy if one of their parents has one, and they are 75% more likely to have allergies if both of their parents have them.
The Link Between Allergies and Genes
Allergies occur when a person’s immune system overreacts to something occurring in their environment. This might include food, medications, pollen from trees, or dander from a pet. For a person with allergies, the body’s immune system reacts and produces immunoglobulin type E antibodies, or IgE, in response to the allergen.
Research conducted on allergies has shown a genetic component, suggesting that they are hereditary. Genetic factors for developing food allergies have also been observed in several studies.
Most recently, genome-wide association studies, or GWAS, in which researchers study the entire human genome and discover genetic information about diseases, has helped shape the understanding of the genetics of allergies, providing further evidence that allergies can be hereditary.
Other Risk Factors for Developing Allergies
Why some people react to an allergen (or proteins that cause allergic reactions) and why others don’t is not fully understood at this time. Studies indicate that both environmental and genetic factors cause common allergies.
While the exact cause of allergies is not fully known, there are some ideas about what causes allergies and their increased prevalence.
Researchers suggest risk factors for developing allergies include:
- Environmental changes
- Tobacco smoke exposure
- Viral respiratory infections
- Increased antibiotic usage
- Exposure to allergens in an individual’s environment
Diagnosis and Treatment of Allergies
The diagnosis and treatment of allergies often depends on the type of allergy being treated.
Diagnosis of Allergies
The first step when an allergy is suspected is providing a detailed medical history to your healthcare provider. Allergy testing may then be ordered to identify possible allergy triggers.
The most common tests to diagnose allergies include:
- Blood tests: An individual’s blood is tested for the presence of IgE antibodies.
- Skin prick test: These tests prick the skin with a small amount of the allergen at the tip of a small needle. The skin’s reaction is measured to indicate whether there is a response to the allergen.
- Radioallergosorbent test (RAST): RAST is an older type of allergy test that checks for IgE antibodies to a specific allergen in the blood. ImmunoCap is a newer and preferred test for measuring circulating IgE antibodies to specific allergens in order to identify your allergy triggers.
- Oral food challenge tests: This test involves introducing a small amount of food while in a medical office under physician supervision to monitor for a potential allergic reaction.
Managing and Preventing Allergies
The easiest way to manage and prevent allergies and improve quality of life is to avoid contact with the allergen as much as possible. This can be difficult, especially with airborne allergies.
For many allergies, especially life-threatening ones, it’s important to have epinephrine devices (EpiPens) on hand at all times in case of accidental exposure.