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Thermometers: Taking Temperatures and Proper Sanitation

How To Clean Two Types For Safe Use 

  1. Direct contact thermometers come into direct contact with your body 
    1. Choose a brand that includes a special storage case or cap that fits over the portion of the thermometer that is placed inside the mouth or against the skin. Always keep it stored with the cap.
    2. Always clean after every single use, with hot water and soap. 
    3. The probe should be sanitized by using alcohol wipes, wiping any remaining sanitizer with clean water 
    4. Let the thermometer either air dry or wipe the surface of the thermometer completely dry with a clean disposable towel. Avoid using a dishrag or kitchen towel to dry your thermometer since cloth towels are more likely to house germs and bacteria than disposables.
  1. Instant read thermometers (or infrared thermometers) offer quick and accurate readings without having to make any direct contact with the sick person’s skin.
    1. Wipe off the surfaces of an instant-read thermometer with an alcohol wipe or a cotton ball soaked with alcohol to eliminate any chance of accidental contamination. 
    2. Wipe down after every use to remain clean and sanitized.   WikiHow, Smart Home Keeping

Taking Temperatures

  1. Do health checks every morning and every night
    1. Take your temperature and/or that of family members being cared for 
    2. In addition to fever, watch for any other symptoms of COVID-19, including cough or difficulty breathing.
    3. Keep track of temperature and any symptoms 
    4. Write family members’ temperatures and symptoms that need monitoring. 
  1. Before you Take Your Temperature
    1. Wait 30 minutes after eating, drinking, or exercising. 
    2. Wait at least 6 hours after taking medicines that can lower your temperature, like:  Acetaminophen, (also called paracetamol) , Ibuprofen, or Aspirin
  1. Turn the thermometer on by pressing the button near the screen. 
  • Hold the tip of the thermometer under your tongue until it beeps. Do not bite the thermometer. 
  1. Read your temperature on the screen. If your temperature is 100.4°F/38°C or higher, you have a fever.
  • Write the temperature down. 
  1. Clean your thermometer with soap, water and alcohol and dry it well. 

PLEASE NOTE: For infants and children younger than 4 years old, use an age-appropriate thermometer such as an ear thermometer. If you do not have one, use a regular thermometer by placing it under the child’s arm in the center of the armpit. 

For the armpit method, if the child’s temperature is 99.4°F/37.4°C or higher, they have a fever. Tell the public health worker that you are taking the child’s temperature this way. 

  1. Put the tip of the thermometer in an armpit. Make sure the armpit is dry.
  2. Close the armpit by holding the elbow against the chest. Do this until it beeps (about 10 seconds)