One of the worst things a parent can wake up to in the middle of the night is a sick child, burning up with fever, that simply cannot be soothed. Deciding when to ride out the storm at home or when to bring them into the doctor can depend greatly on whether or not they are running a fever, and if they are, to what extent the fever is. This article will talk about one option for thermometers, the ear thermometer, and how to find the best one for your needs.
What Is An Ear Thermometer?
An ear thermometer, as the name suggests, is a thermometer in which is inserted into the ear in order to determine if the person is running a fever or not. These thermometers are easy to use, and some of the least invasive types of thermometers on the market, and are fairly accurate if used correctly.
How Does An Ear Thermometer Work?
An ear thermometer is inserted into the ear to determine the temperature. It does so by using infrared radiation to determine the temperature of the eardrum. The probe stays approximately one to two centimeters away from the ear drum, which still allows the probe to accurately measure the temperature, but protects the delicate eardrum from being damaged in anyway. After the temperature of the eardrum is determined, the thermometer provides a digital read out on an LED screen.
What Are The Uses of An Ear Thermometer?
An ear thermometer is used to determine temperature, but more specifically, these thermometers are usually used for children who are too antsy to sit still or are too young to be able to hold a digital thermometer under the tongue. Since the ear is relatively clean and this type of thermometer can be easily sanitized and used on multiple people, making it an ideal option for school nurses and at daycares. Of course, this type of thermometer can be used on anyone, and is not limited to children.
Benefits of Ear Thermometers
There are a couple of different benefits of ear thermometers that make them a great option.
The first is that they are fairly non-invasive, especially compared to anal thermometers that are often used on small children. Unless your child is suffering from an ear infection or other chronic ear problems, the use of an ear thermometer should be virtually painless.
Additionally, an ear thermometer is fairly quick, with most promising an accurate readout within 10 seconds. This is incredibly important when you are dealing with a child who is fussy and cranky, and is constantly up in the middle of the night, and want to disturb their rest as little as possible. This is great for you as a parent as well, considering that you surviving on very little rest as well when you are dealing with a sick child.
Finally, one of the best things about an ear thermometer is, if you know what you are doing, this is a fairly easy instrument to use. This is great for parents who don’t feel comfortable using rectal thermometers on their children or when someone is so sick that they need their temperature taken on regular intervals. This thermometer is also easy enough to use on yourself, when you find yourself stricken with the flu or a nasty stomach bug.
Accuracy of Ear Thermometers
There are plenty of great benefits of ear thermometers, there are a couple of things to note about a ear thermometer accuracy as well as just general use of these instruments. First, ear thermometers should not be used on children who are less than three months old, as their ear canals are generally not large enough to accommodate the probe and can cause damage to their delicate ears.
Additionally, there is a specific angle that you need to insert the ear thermometer at in order for it to accurately read the eardrum temperature. If it is not inserted correctly, you may be told that your child’s temperature is not too high, when in reality it is dangerously high. Conversely, you might be led to believe that your child’s temperature is dangerously high, when in actuality the fever is almost non-existent.
If you are opting to go with an ear thermometer, make sure that you invest in a quality one and do your research in order to ensure that you are using the device correctly.
Features of the Best Ear Thermometers
There are a couple of different features to look for in an ear thermometer to ensure you get the best one for your needs.
The first is a backlit screen. This will be particularly important as you are trying to stealthily take your child’s temperature in the middle of the night and do not want to wake them up. This will also help you get back to sleep quicker if you don’t have to turn on all the lights.
Next, find an ear thermometer that gives you fever alerts. These are preprogrammed alerts that will make sure you know when your child’s temperature has reached a dangerous range.
You should also look for a thermometer that stores the last five to ten temperature readings. This is particular will help you monitor you or your child’s temperature over the course of an illness and be able to relay to your doctor the changes in your child’s temperature over the course of their illness.
When your child is sick is the worst time to be running around trying to find your thermometer, or even worse, running to the store to buy a new one. Having a trusty thermometer in your first aid kit will save you and your child a lot of sleep, hastle, and crankiness in the long run. An ear thermometer is a great option to consider as you are shopping for a new thermometer for your medicine cabinet.