Thermometers are diagnostic tools that are used to measure the body temperature of a person. In principle, thermometers in general have a wide variety of uses and functions, ranging from applications in cooking and medically. Traditionally, thermometers for measuring body temperature should be placed in certain areas where the body is the hottest. Some of these areas include the armpit, into the rectum and underneath the tongue. Another less common location for measuring temperature is in the ear.
Modern thermometers used to measure body temperature consist of an LCD display and a temperature sensor, usually with a metal tip. This tip is inserted into the aforementioned locations to measure body temperature, which is then used to evaluate if a person has a fever. This fever may be an indicator that the person is sick with an infection and should be treated. Digital thermometers in particular can be programmed to measure temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, depending on the preference of the user. Many thermometers are also equipped with an alarm that can be used to indicate to the person measuring the body temperature when the reading has completed. These readings normally take about 10-20 seconds depending on the location used to collect the readings. After this amount of time, the alarm will sound, indicating that the thermometer is done collecting the reading.
Oral thermometers are easy to clean and maintain, as the tip used to measure temperature can be washed and sterilized. Ear thermometers, on the other hand, usually require a cover or other implements to ensure that the process of measuring the body temperature through the ear is safe and infection free.