CHICAGO (CBS) — During the coronavirus crisis you’ve probably heard lots about fevers and taking your temperature. However, a viewer shared her concerns with us about the accuracy of home thermometers.
A viewer contacted CBS 2 and said she bought two thermometers, the same model, and took her temperature with each back to back, only to get different readings–one at 98.6 and another at 97.7.
“Most of the thermometers you can buy at a pharmacy or a drug store really are not as accurate as the hospital or doctor,” said Carmen Catizone, the executive director for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. “They’re really just meant to give you an indication if there’s a problem so that you can follow up with your doctor or your caregiver.”
Catizone says if you’re below 99 with no other symptoms, there’s no need panic. If you are feeling sick, you should be cautious and keep checking. Some thermometers are more accurate than others.
“Buy a product that has some good ratings on it or a product that may be more than just a few dollars,” Catizone said.
Our viewer’s concerns stem from the Walgreen’s flex tip two-second digital thermometer, which has just one and a half out of five stars on store’s website and plenty of accuracy complaints. Several thermometers on Catizone’s top-rated list are currently unavailable on Amazon. However, even with the high demand, you can still find some others on the website.
“A lot of thermometers now you can simply swipe your forehead as opposed to putting it in your mouth,” Catizone said. “Which makes it a lot safer as we’re all cautious about germs.”
Catizone also says to take into account whether your temperature may have changed for some other reason. For example, if the room is very warm or if you just worked out. He also says digital thermometers tend to be slightly more accurate than old fashioned mercury ones.