We are receiving many inquiries regarding the suitability of our general-purpose infrared thermometers for fever screening of employees and others.
FDA Listed Device is Coming
ThermoWorks is expediting the launch of a new Forehead Thermometer that will be FDA Listed for human temperatures as a Class II medical/clinical thermometer. Availability is expected to be early May 2020. Check back for further announcements.
Our Other Infrared Thermometers
ThermoWorks other infrared thermometer products are intended for food service, food processing, industrial, scientific and general home use. They are not FDA Cleared for clinical use. We therefore do not make any claims on their suitability for medical temperatures.
In the current pandemic environment, there is a worldwide shortage of infrared sensors and medical infrared thermometers. If someone were to use a general-purpose infrared thermometer as a substitute scanning tool for detecting elevated body temperatures, we offer the following cautions:
• Forehead temperature is several degrees lower than core body temperature of 98.6°F (37°C). Medical forehead thermometers make a mathematical adjustment to display an equivalent oral temperature. When using general-purpose infrared thermometers to read forehead temperatures, the readings will likely be lower than 98.6°F, even if a fever is present. Normal forehead skin temperature can vary several degrees depending on your environment (indoors or out), exercise, perspiration, etc. It would be normal to read an actual forehead skin surface temperature between 91°F and 94°F if using a general-purpose infrared thermometer.
• The best approach is to know the normal forehead skin temperature of a specific individual in good health. A surface reading would then be more useful in determining whether a fever is present.
• In scanning a population of individuals, if a subject had a fever of 4 to 5 degrees above normal, one would expect the forehead skin temperature to read 4 to 5 degrees higher than the average of other healthy subjects. Still, such a scan could not be regarded as a reliable absolute measurement of core body temperature.
• Users should be aware of the “spot size” of the infrared thermometer’s measurement area. They should also consider the distance-to-target recommendations of the instrument. The angle of the sensor to the subject is also important.
• If the general-purpose IR thermometer has a laser-pointing feature, it is best to turn the laser off if possible (or cover it with tape) and always use great care to avoid pointing it at someone’s eyes. The laser is not part of the measurement technology and is only used to assist in aiming.
• Some industrial IR thermometers allow the adjustment of the emissivity setting. In medical literature human skin is noted to have an emissivity between 0.95 and 0.99 regardless of color. Some users report that by setting an adjustable emissivity to 0.78, the instrument will give a forehead temperature reading that approximates the normal oral temperature. We cannot offer advice on the reliability of this approach.