My son has had scarlet fever. At first I didn’t think anything was wrong with him when he came home with quite red cheeks and a sore throat. But the next day he had these white stains around his mouth and he felt warm. So I checked his temperature and unfortunately he had a fever as well. So I called my doctor and she said I best come by and pick up some antibiotics. Luckily in a few days time he had fully recovered.

So everything is well now. But while checking his temperature with my old in-ear thermometer I noticed something strange. At first the thermometer showed a body temperature of 35,9 oC. I thought that was quite strange because his forehead felt really warm. So I checked his temperature again. Now it showed 38,7 oC. That is a huge difference of course. Did he really have a fever? So when I took his temperature a third time it showed me yet another temperature!

When I asked my doctor about this she told me this happens a lot with in-ear thermometers. Because to take a body temperature you have to push the sensor of the thermometer into the ear canal. What I never realised is that there can be a large difference in the temperature you measure when you push the sensor deeper or less deep into the ear canal. So how far should you push it into the ear? It all depends on the anatomy of your son’s ear canal, my doctor told me.

My doctor was very clear in her replies: an in-ear thermometer is not your best choice when you are shopping for a thermometer. There are “easier to use”  products available, like Temporal Artery Thermometers. These thermometers are next to very practical also very accurate. One of the reasons is that all you have to do to measure a body temperature is swiping the thermometer across the forehead. In seconds you will have a very accurate reading.

So that is what I am using now: a Temporal Artery Thermometer. Even my husband who is not very keen on all things medical has no issues whatsoever with checking his own temperature using this new thermometer.