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Posted: Monday 21 September, 2020 at 12:20 AM

Infrared thermometers safe to use, says Chief Medical Officer

By: (SKNIS), Press Release

    Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 20, 2020 (SKNIS): Speaking at the September 18th National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) Press Briefing, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws, addressed the concerns of many about the safety of the infrared thermometers, noting that they pose no health risk. 
     
    The Chief Medical Officer informed that the human body emits electromagnetic radiation. She added that most of the radiation emitted from the human body is in the infrared region.
     
    “So, the handheld infrared thermometer basically is utilized to measure the body temperature,” said Dr. Laws. “The body emits the electromagnetic radiation in the form of infrared and the thermometer uses a lens to focus the light from the human body unto a detector in the machine. This lens is called a thermopile. The thermopile absorbs the infrared radiation, turns it into heat and then the infrared thermometer registers the body temperature.”
     
    Dr. Laws noted that the infrared thermometer is used to absorb the infrared radiation coming from the human body. 
     
    The Chief Medical Officer stated that persons are assuming that the thermometer emits radiation when in fact it is the human body that is emitting the radiation picked up by the thermometer. The radiation is transformed into heat and then the thermometer registers the body temperature. 
     
    She added that the thermometers do not emit infrared light but are used to measure infrared light to determine the body’s temperature.
     
    “Some of these non-contact thermometers emit a dim light,” she said. ‘It may appear red. Basically it is utilized by the operator of the infrared thermometer just to make sure that the thermometer is pointed on the forehead and not on your hair or on your eyebrow etc.”
     
    Dr. Laws said that the thin, dim, red light, is visible but harmless. 
     
    “So, in other words, the light emitted by the thermometer is visible, you can see it, however it is harmless,” she said. “Please note that this dim, red light is not infrared light. It is not a laser beam.”
     
    She said that these sensors do not emit infrared light or any other type of electromagnetic beam. 
     
    “It’s just an ordinary light and we are all exposed to ordinary light as I am in a lit room now and so my body, my brain cells, my pineal gland is impacted by the light in this room,” said Dr. Laws. “There is no harm to my brain or my pineal gland by sitting in this room.”

     


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