Fever or elevated body temperature is a leading indicator of infectious disease. As such, Temperature screenings have become increasingly commonplace over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fever detection is now a widely used emergency preparation tool to help organizations quickly identify potentially sick individuals and isolate them before they can transmit an infectious disease.
Countless facilities have implemented mandatory, contact-free temperature screenings for every individual, from businesses and airports to doctor’s offices and restaurants. These screenings examine each person for an elevated body temperature (EBT)—the only visible symptom of a possible viral or bacterial infection that someone’s immune system is responding to.
Such techniques and technologies made a huge impact in Asia. Specifically, in Singapore and Taiwan, the planning and response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been exemplary. With Taiwan recording 124 deaths and Singapore reporting 33, their mortality rate ran between 0.52-0.58 per 100k people from January 2020 to June 1, 2021. During the same time period, the United States has seen 594,568 deaths with 181.14 deaths per 100k people.
What did our own country’s lack of preparedness for COVID-19 teach us about the role of fever detection during a pandemic, and how can organizations use these lessons to better prepare themselves for an uncertain future? Let’s find out.
1. Pros and Cons of Elevated Body Temperature Screening
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals should not enter an indoor establishment if they have a body temperature of 100.4°F or higher. In order to follow this guideline, organizations must identify the most efficient and effective way to screen each person for an EBT—but naturally, there are pros and cons to body temperature screening.
The benefits of implementing fever detection protocols far outweigh the cons. Body temperature screenings can detect an elevated body temperature and indicate the possible presence of a transmissible infection, empowering organizations to prevent feverish individuals from entering a building, crowd, or live event. Given the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, these screenings are a very useful tool in both the private and public sectors.
Additionally, body temperature screenings help people feel safer by demonstrating that your organization is taking public health seriously. Although a fever screening cannot be used as a tool for diagnosis, it is just one of a number of things organizations can do to help protect their people and mitigate the spread of airborne illnesses.
When it comes to body temperature screenings, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. For one, an EBT can easily be masked by over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. It’s also possible that a person could be infected with a bacteria or virus, but be asymptomatic and therefore not presenting a fever.
On top of that, not everyone with an EBT has a transmittable illness, and not everyone without an EBT is guaranteed to be virus-free. In other words, fever screening cannot directly detect the presence of COVID-19 or any other pathogen. However, none of this means that we shouldn’t still try to identify sick people.
It is also important to remember that not all fever screening technology is created equal. That’s why we are dedicated to ensuring our products are top of the line and performing correctly. We want to provide a real, trustworthy sense of security.
Protecting people from infectious diseases can be incredibly complex and tragically imperfect. Body temperature screening should be considered as one layer of a comprehensive strategy that can include social distancing and improving indoor air quality.
2. Using Next-Generation Technology for Fever Detection
Even highly accurate equipment is only as effective as your facility’s daily operating procedures. Your body temperature screening equipment needs to be properly installed, maintained, and supported. Implementing robust staff training and clear operational processes is also imperative. Clear procedures eliminate potential bottlenecks and unintentional public safety issues, such as compromised social distancing while people wait in lines.
It is also important that quality of life is not completely compromised, so fever screening technology must be as efficient as it is accurate. A system like the Seek-Scan Kiosk offers a simple, accurate, and affordable solution to streamline temperature screenings with cutting-edge thermal screening technology. The Seek-Scan Kiosk was developed by one of the world’s leading suppliers of thermal sensors to ensure optimal performance and accurate results within +0.5°F.
Ready to take your pandemic preparation and response strategy to the next level to better protect your customers, visitors, and employees? Schedule a free consultation with Invisible Health Technologies to find the right fever screening technology for your facility.