Article from the FDA –
Thermal Imaging Systems and COVID-19
- When used correctly, thermal imaging systems generally have been shown to accurately measure someone’s surface skin temperature without being physically close to the person being evaluated. Thermal imaging systems offer certain benefits in that other methods need a closer proximity or contact to measure temperature (for example, non-contact infrared thermometers or oral thermometers).
- Temperature-based screening, such as thermal imaging, is not effective at determining if someone definitively has COVID-19 because, among other things, a person with COVID-19 may not have a fever. A diagnostic test must be performed to determine if someone has COVID-19.
- Thermal imaging systems have not been shown to be accurate when used to take the temperature of multiple people at the same time. The accuracy of these systems depends on careful set-up and operation, as well as proper preparation of the person being evaluated.
- Thermal imaging systems have been used by several countries during epidemics, although information about their effectiveness as part of efforts to reduce the spread of disease has been mixed.
Benefits of Thermal Imaging Systems
- The person who handles the thermal imaging system is not required to be physically close to the person being evaluated. In fact, the person who handles the thermal imaging system could be in a different area or room.
- The thermal imaging system may measure surface skin temperature faster than the typical forehead or oral (mouth) thermometer that requires a close distance or physical contact with the person being evaluated.
- Scientific studies show that, when used correctly, thermal imaging systems generally measure surface skin temperature accurately.
Preparing the Area where You will Use a Thermal Imaging System
- Room temperature should be 68-76 °F (20-24 °C) and relative humidity 10-50 percent.
- Try to control other items that could impact the temperature measurement:
- Avoid reflective backgrounds (for example, glass, mirrors, metallic surfaces) to minimize reflected infrared radiation.
- Use in a room with no draft (movement of air), out of direct sunlight and away from radiant heat (for example, portable heaters, electrical sources).
- Avoid strong lighting (for example, incandescent, halogen and quartz tungsten halogen light bulbs).
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