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New thermometers not accurate

Infrared thermometers that read temperature with a sweep of the forehead may not be accurate.

New thermometers not accurate

Infrared thermometers that read temperature with a sweep of the forehead may not be accurate. Because of their quick and easy use, these thermometers have become extremely popular with doctors, parents and athletic trainers. Also known as temporal thermometers or temporal scanners, these devices use an infrared scanner to gauge the heat radiating from blood vessels in the forehead, and use this to calculate the core body temperature. To test the efficacy of these thermometers, researchers at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, made 16 healthy adults wear special wetsuits that were gradually heated to raise their core body temperature. Their temperatures were repeatedly measured with a temporal scanner and with an ingestible-pill telemetry system that tracked the internal temperature. The temporal thermometer readings were generally lower than volunteers' actual core body temperatures, when they were under heat stress. It was found, that before the suits were heated up, readings from the temporal scanner and pill generally matched up. But after 30 minutes of heat, readings from the scanner actually fell, despite the fact that volunteers' core temperature was climbing. The findings cast doubt on the ability of temporal scanners to accurately measure body temperature. Thus, the use of such thermometers in gauging a person's temperature should be avoided as these can lead to gross errors when used in hospitals or homes.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,
July 2007
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