An Infrared Forehead Thermometer: Your First Aid Kits Best Tool

While COVID has definitely brought a heightened awareness to being able to determine if someone has a fever, having an infrared forehead thermometer in your first aid kit has always been a good idea. Catching a fever early can go a long way to helping alleviate the symptoms and discomfort of colds, flu, and COVID illnesses.

Infrared Forehead Thermometer: A First Aid Kit Necessity

An infrared forehead thermometer is defined as a device that can quickly and accurately determine a persons temperature without any contact with the person. They are contactless devices that use infrared technology to return a temperature reading that can be used to find out if a person has a fever or not. Having one in your home first aid kit is a necessity; not only to potentially catch early COVID infections but also to guard against the common cold, the flu, and other seasonal viral infections. Early detection can help you treat the problem and ease the symptoms in your loved one.

How Do Infrared Thermometers Work?

Fundamentally, these are surface temperature thermometers that are able to read the temperature of any aimed-at object and determine its heat level as compared to the surrounding area. Using infrared light beams, it collects the reflected energy and concentrates it in order to calculate a temperature.

Using this technology enables the thermometers to work without ever physically touching the person, or object, that is being measured.

How Accurate Are Infrared Forehead Thermometers?

Non contact infrared thermometers have been used in health care settings for quite some time. While seeing them in more casual, social settings is a new COVID-era phenomenon they are considered to be accurate and reliable enough for use on even the sickest of patients to detect fevers and ensure that infections are not present.

The accuracy of an IR forehead thermometer is dependent on the proper usage of the thermometer. Ensuring that the measurement is taken at a perpendicular (straight on) angle to the forehead, that the correct distance is used, and that the ambient conditions are favorable (it shouldn’t be too windy, for example).

What Is A Normal Temperature Range?

It’s important to note that ‘normal’ temperature is a range. A persons temperature can be affected by environmental factors such as whether they are inside or outside, personal factors such as whether they have just been exercising, and of course health factors such as whether the person is actually sick and has a fever.

A ‘normal’ temperature is usually defined as 98.6°F (37.0°C). However the normal range is generally considered to be from 97°F (36.1°C) to 99°F (37.2°C). Certainly if a temperature reading is at the high end of this range, then the person should be monitored for symptoms and their temperature checked regularly to ensure the person remains well.

Forehead Thermometers and COVID

COVID has caused heightened awareness of disease transmission and people are looking for quick and easy ways to detect illness. Where I live, almost every shop and restaurant is using IR thermometers to screen customers and ensure that their business can remain open and safe.

Regularly checking your own temperature, and that of your family, is a good way to personally guard against COVID. Ensuring that your temperature is within normal range can help alleviate anxiety around potential exposures and is a good community-minded measure to keeping COVID rates low.

Benefits Of Infrared Forehead Thermometers

There are a number of reasons to consider using IR thermometers:

  • Non-Contact. Not having to touch the person while taking their temperature eliminates the concern of contact based disease transmission.
  • Easy to Use. IR thermometers are very simple to use – simply point at the target and wait for the reading to display.
  • Easy to Clean. The surfaces of these thermometers are relatively smooth and are easy to clean and disinfect.
  • Rapid Reading. A temperature reading is displayed within seconds; an instantaneous determination of temperature.
  • Affordable. IR thermometers for home use are an affordable addition to a first aid kit.

Limitations of Infrared Forehead Thermometers

There are also limitations to the use of infrared thermometers:

  • Proper Technique. The thermometer must be properly positioned in order to give an accurate reading.
  • Ambient Conditions. The environment around the temperature taking matters; very windy, very hot, or very cold conditions can affect the accuracy of the reading.
  • Proximity. The best, most accurate, readings are given when the thermometer is very close to (but not touching) the subject. This could mean that the person taking the reading is within the one meter boundary recommended as a safe personal distance.

Proper Use of Infrared Forehead Thermometers

The most important part of using infrared forehead thermometers is to use them properly. Each manufacturer provides guidelines for usage; make sure you take the time to read the instructions to ensure you are using it properly and getting the most accurate reading possible.

Here are some general guidelines on proper usage:

  • Ensure the IR beam is perpendicular to the persons forehead.
  • Take the ambient conditions into consideration. Try to shield against windy conditions if possible.
  • Let the thermometer rest in the environment you intend on using it in. This allows it to take the ambient conditions into account.
  • Don’t use in areas that are very hot or very cold.
  • Don’t let the thermometer rest in direct sunlight.
  • Take temperature against a bare forehead; no hair or head covering should be in the way.

Are Infrared Forehead Thermometers Better Than ‘Traditional’ Thermometers?

Are they ‘better’ than traditional thermometers? Not necessarily, but they are very useful for quick and fairly accurate temperature checking. They are only a tool though, and are only as good as the people using them and the environment they are used in. If a fever is suspected, it is recommended that another method be used to confirm the reading.

Best Infrared Forehead Thermometers

iHealth No Touch Forehead Thermometer

Things to Like:

  • Simple, straight-forward design
  • Vibration notification instead of loud beeping
  • 3 Sensors

This iHealth thermometer is one of the highest rated infrared thermometers on the market. It’s easy to use, the LED display is bright, and the results are quick and accurate.

The three sensors allow the technology to consider the distance from the subject, the ambient conditions, and the temperature of the subject within a few short seconds.

The simple, and sleek design make it simple to use and also makes it very easy to clean and sanitize; no nooks and crannies to worry about!

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Prove Multifunction Infrared Thermometer

Things to Like:

  • Ear or Forehead temperature readings
  • Color coded temperature display with Fever Alarm
  • Memory Function – up to 40 previous readings

This simple to use, accurate, forehead thermometer is a great addition to any home first aid kit. It can quickly indicate the temperature using either ear or forehead readings with an accuracy range of ± 0.4°F / 0.2 °C.

A color coded temperature display eliminates the need to check a temperature chart to ensure that the reading is within normal range. Green indicates a normal temperature, orange indicates an elevated temperature, and red is a warning of a feverish temperature. This is further reinforced with a Fever Alarm to be sure that the user is aware that the temperature is elevated.

Ear or forehead readings are possible. Simply remove the tympanic (ear) sensor cover to reveal the temperature probe and gently insert into the ear. With the cover on, a forehead temperature can be taken without ever touching the person.

The bright LED display shows the current temperature reading as well as the last reading for a quick comparison of the temperature trend. Up to 40 previous readings are available within the memory function for longer term trending data.

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MildSix No Contact IR Thermometer

Things to Like:

  • Memory function to track trending temperatures
  • Color coded display as an easy fever guide
  • Fever alarm to ensure that elevated temperature is not missed

This light, ergonomic model is quick and easy to use. Its almost instantaneous temperature readings are accurate and are displayed in a color coded format allowing you to easily distinguish if a fever is present.


GoodBaby Touchless Forehead Thermometer

Things to Like:

  • Color coded fever indicator with fever alarm
  • Forehead and ear temperature readings
  • Auto off

This infrared thermometer is capable of touchless forehead readings as well as more traditional ear temperature readings. The ear reader is housed under the attachment for forehead reading; simply remove the cover and use the thermometer as a more traditional ear reader.

The digital display is backlit and easy to read. The color coded temperature readings help ensure that you are aware of whether a fever is present or not. A three beep alarm will sound if the reading veers into fever territory.

This thermometer is easy to use and has an auto-off feature to save battery life.

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Hotodeal Infrared Forehead Thermometer

Things to Like:

  • 10 Data Point Memory Function
  • Color coded temperature reading
  • Quick and accurate

The backlit display on this model makes it easy to use in low-light environment making taking the temperature of a sleeping baby that much easier! The 10-point memory function helps to know how the temperature is trending, and the color coded reading provides a quick assessment of whether the person has a fever or not.

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Braun Digital No-Touch Forehead Thermometer

Things to Like:

  • Name brand quality
  • Positioning System to ensure proper readings
  • Large, easy to read, screen

Braun is a trusted brand in the healthcare sector, and for good reason. They have a strong history of producing quality products that can be trusted. This forehead thermometer is a great example; used by more paediatricians (and moms!) than other brands combined.

This is the only model that uses a positioning system to ensure that the readings are being taken properly and offers guidance if positioning needs to be adjusted. The large, easy to read, screen is also enhanced by a color coded reading system that allows for quick and easy interpretation of the temperature.

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WELLUE Non Contact Thermometer

Things to Like:

  • Available app for better, more accurate temperature tracking
  • Fever alert
  • Ear mode available also

Its the app that sets this infrared thermometer apart from the others. Simply download it from the App Store (or Google Play) and start tracking each family members temperature independently. A great tool to use to help your family doctor understand the trending of temperature readings over time.

The display is bright and easy to read, with color coded lighting to indicate various temperature differences. A fever alarm sounds if the temperature it too high.

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First Aid Kit Essentials

The American Red Cross recommends that we keep a first aid kit at home, in our cars, and be aware of where one is at our workplaces. It’s good advice; you don’t want to be frantically searching for help in the case of an emergency.

It’s easy enough to put your own first aid kit together. Try to include the following:

  • absorbent compress dressings
  • adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • adhesive cloth tape
  • antibiotic ointment packets
  • antiseptic wipe packets
  • pain relief – such as Advil or Tylenol
  • emergency blanket
  • mouth guard/breathing barrier
  • cold compress
  • non latex gloves
  • hydrocortisone ointment
  • gauze bandage roll
  • compression bandage
  • sterile gauze pads
  • thermometer
  • triangular bandages
  • tweezers and scissors