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How to best use different types of thermometers

How to best use different types of thermometers

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Virus Outbreak Venezuela

A store employee measures the temperature of a woman before allowing her to enter the shop amid the new coronavirus pandemic in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, July 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

Always use a digital thermometer to check your temperature. Because of the potential for mercury exposure or ingestion, glass mercury thermometers have been phased out and are no longer recommended.

No matter which type of thermometer you use, take these precautions:

  • Read the instructions that came with the thermometer.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water before using the thermometer.
  • Clean the thermometer before and after each use with rubbing alcohol or soap and lukewarm water.
  • Don’t use the same thermometer for both oral and rectal temperatures. Get two and label which is used where.
  • Wait at least 6 hours after taking medications that can lower your temperature, like acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or aspirin.

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