April 23, 2024
Infrared Thermometers

Exploring the Applications and Limitless Potential of Infrared Thermometers in Healthcare Diagnostics

Introduction

In the current times of COVID-19 pandemic, one device that has gained prominence is the infrared thermometer. This non-contact thermometer allows for safe and efficient temperature screening of large groups of people without any direct physical contact. Infrared thermometers work on the principle of detecting infrared energy emitted by the target object or person and converts it into an equivalent temperature reading. Let us delve deeper into the workings and applications of these handy temperature measurement tools.

How Infrared Thermometers Work
All objects above absolute zero emit radiation in the infrared spectrum. The amount of infrared radiation emitted by an object increases with its temperature. Infrared thermometers make use of this phenomenon of black body radiation. They contain an infrared sensor and related circuitry that detects the infrared wavelengths emitted by the target. An onboard microprocessor then analyzes this infrared signature and calculates the temperature. Most thermometers have a trigger button that needs to be pressed to take a reading. The temperature is displayed digitally on an LCD screen. Non-contact thermometers allow measuring temperatures from a distance of a few centimeters up to a few meters depending on the model.

Accuracy and Reliability
For infrared thermometers to provide accurate temperature readings, certain factors need to be considered. The emissivity setting on the thermometer should match the material of the target object. Emissivity indicates how efficiently a surface gives off or absorbs infrared radiation. Most thermometers have a default emissivity of 0.95 for human skin. The distance between the thermometer and the target is also crucial – manufacturers specify an optimal range. Ambient temperature, humidity levels and air currents can potentially affect the accuracy. Good quality Infrared Thermometers are calibrated to compensate for environmental factors and give reliable readings.

Applications in Healthcare
Infrared thermometers find widespread application for temperature screening in healthcare settings. They are being extensively used at airport terminals, offices, schools and public places for contactless screening of individuals for fever which is one of the common symptoms of COVID-19. Non-contact thermometry helps minimize the risk of disease transmission through direct physical contact. Infrared thermometers allow checking multiple people rapidly while maintaining social distance. They are also useful for temperature monitoring of infants without disturbing their sleep. Other healthcare uses include veterinary medicine, physiotherapy and monitoring patients with fever.

Beyond Healthcare – Industrial and Commercial Uses
The ability to measure temperature remotely without contact makes infrared thermometers valuable in diverse industrial applications as well. They help in preventive maintenance of electrical equipment by detecting hot spots indicating loose connections or overloading. Food processing industries use them for quality control checks to ensure products are cooled or heated adequately. Infrared thermometers help building inspectors and HVAC contractors identify gaps, leaks or moisture issues by analyzing surface temperatures. They also find application in firefighting, security surveillance, and R&D in various industries. Commercial infrared thermometers are used by stores, restaurants, gyms etc. for temperature screening of customers and staff.

Advantages over Contact Thermometers
Conventional contact thermometers like mercury thermometers and digital thermometers under the tongue have certain limitations. They require direct contact with the body part being measured which can potentially transmit infections between uses if not properly sterilized. Reading an under-tongue thermometer also requires adequate co-operation which may not be possible with young children or infants. On the other hand, infrared thermometers offer several distinct advantages:
– Contactless and hygienic measurement from a safe distance
– Quick readings without disturbing the subject
– Easy to use without requiring co-operation of the person
– Suitable for mass temperature screening of large groups rapidly
– Reliable and reusable if proper disinfection protocols are followed

Newer Technologies and Models
Advancements in non-contact temperature measurement technologies have resulted in innovative infrared thermometer designs. Wireless versions transmit readings to mobile devices or centralized monitoring systems. Thermal imaging cameras generate detailed thermal patterns and heat maps. Multi-point laser thermometers simultaneously measure temperature at multiple skin areas for higher accuracy. Wearable armband thermometers continuously monitor body temperature. Infrared thermal screening systems allow automation of entry screening at public places. With continuous upgrades in performance and features at affordable prices, infrared thermometers are set to become a mainstay for temperature monitoring needs across diverse applications.

Infrared thermometers have revolutionized temperature measurement by enabling accurate, touchless and fast non-contact readings. They provide a reliable, hygienic and convenient solution for healthcare professionals as well as occupational health and safety officials. With technological refinements and growing acceptance, infrared thermometers will play a crucial role in mitigating health risks by facilitating fever screening on a massive scale in the present circumstances and beyond. Widespread deployment in industries, public spaces and communities will aid prevention as well as early detection of illnesses.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it