Yes, a thermometer can give you a false reading even if you follow all instructions

At the height of the pandemic, thermometers were flying off the shelves. But, can a thermometer give you a false reading even if you follow all the instructions?

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — At the height of the pandemic, thermometers were flying off the shelves at Remedy Drug in Little Rock. 

"People probably didn't have thermometers," Laura Lumsden of Remedy Drug said. 

If you were to list all the symptoms of COVID-19, fever might be at the top of the list. So if you haven't already, it's probably a good time to invest in a working thermometer. But, can a thermometer give you a false reading even if you follow all the instructions? Let's VERIFY.

Our sources are Dr. Riley Lipschitz of Internal Medicine at UAMS and Pharmacist Laura Lumsden.

Dr. Riley Lipschitz said, "A thermometer could give you a false reading anytime. If its batteries are dead. If you don't do it appropriately. I think sometimes we think we've read the instructions right and in fact it's not actually done the perfect way. So any time you're worried about a false reading, I would double check.”

This is true.

Lipschitz continues by saying, “The one thing you've got to know about thermometers is that they're all a little bit different. So the one that you put in your mouth, you got to put it under your tongue and keep your mouth closed until that little beep goes off and that's probably one of the most accurate for adults to use."

But, keep in mind – some require a little more maintenance than others. Dr. Lipschitz said, "If you've got a mercury thermometer, the old-school glass ones, it's going to last forever. Never expires. But if you have a digital one, like anything that's computerized, it's got a shelf life."

"Maybe once or twice a year, just check your thermometer and make sure that it's reading what you would expect to be your normal temperature," Lumsden explained.

So we can verify, yes a thermometer can give you a false reading even if you follow all the instructions. Just be on the lookout for the obvious red flags. Both Lipschitz and Lumsden also suggest replacing your thermometer every few years.

Remember if you have something you'd like VERIFIED, let us help! Email us – verify@thv11.com.

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