How To Read a Digital Thermometer

Using digital thermometer

A digital thermometer is a modern version of a thermometer, which is an instrument that measures temperature. It senses temperature by a device called thermoresister which by the use of circuit measures, gauges the resistance and converts it to a temperature. It then interprets that information and reveals it on the display window. With the advancement of technology, digital thermometers are equipped with digital display screen, permanent probe, beep system, and a lot of other features depending on the type such as data loggers, internal timers, diagnostic capabilities, etc. These thermometers are also designed to be waterproof, splash proof, and explosion proof in order to be attuned to varying conditions.

Outdoor thermometer, remote thermometer, wireless thermometer, and digital hygrometer are just a few of the many types of a digital thermometer that measure temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit scales.  The most common types however are the digital thermometers used for checking body temperature, food temperature, and air temperature.

Digital thermometers designed for human body temperature are also referred to as clinical thermometers. These are kinds of thermometers that have no risk of mercury poisoning and are safe for oral, ear, underarm, or rectal use. Some digital thermometers also use infrared technology. With this innovation checking body temperature has become relatively easier. Through blackbody radiation, digital thermometers with infrared also referred to as laser thermometers have the ability to measure temperature from a distance. For kids who are uneasy having their temperatures taken, an ear or forehead thermometer with infrared mechanism can be very practical.

Digital thermometers are easier to read compared to the traditional thermometers. That is because you no longer need to interpret the result as the temperature will automatically display on the screen. However, what is more important to consider is the accuracy of the result. How to get and read the accurate temperature will depend on the following steps you take if you are using a digital thermometer for a body temperature.

  1. Avoid consuming food and beverages at least 15 minutes before taking a measurement. No smoking, bathing, exercising prior to taking your body temperature. 
  2. Digital thermometers have on and off buttons. Turn the thermometer on and you will find symbols appearing on the display screen to indicate that your thermometer is working. Many thermometers will display the last measured temperature.
  3. Refer to the thermometer manual to help you know what indication you need to see on the screen in order to know that it is ready to take a measurement. Usually digital thermometers are pre-set to display oC or oF results. Whether it is intended for the forehead, mouth, underarm, or rectum, get the specific instructions from your manual for correct and optimum reading.
  4. Most digital thermometers have a beep system. Usually until a continuous beeping or flashing symbols of oC or oF stops, the peak temperature has been reached and you can then read the measurement. Remember that average normal body temperature is 36.5oC or 97.6oF.
  5. Press the off button after reading. Most digital thermometers have storage capacity so that when you turn them on again, they will display the last result.

Note that digital thermometers are battery operated. Look for the battery symbol on the display screen to know if it needs replacement. Allow convenient and proper storage of batteries and probe covers to keep your digital thermometer in good condition.


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