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Manage the ongoing flu season with our thermometer list, which has options for the whole family, including newborn babies. Image Credit: Polina Tankilevitch/Pexels

As we rush to get our annual flu jabs, consider some of the ways to monitor health at home. Fever is a common symptom, and detecting it early on can help you take the appropriate next steps with a medical professional.

An at-home thermometer is a useful tool for getting quick temperature readings. There are several types to choose from, be it the kind that goes in the mouth (oral), under the armpit (axillary), in the ear (tympanic) or over the forehead (temporal). Your best option will depend on the individual's age and, of course, accuracy.

"We're currently in the middle of the flu season, and we're seeing many cases of the influenza virus this year - more than what we saw last year," said Dr Siddharth Arora, a specialist paediatrician at the Medcare Women and Children Hospital, Dubai.

Runny nose, throat pain, a prolonged cough and fever are some of the common tell-tale signs of the flu. "The influenza virus comes with a fever. Unfortunately, in post-Covid, there's no definite flu season, as there has been a continuous onslaught of cases. Based on trends, it's expected to calm down by February and March," explained Dr Arora.

Which thermometer is the best for home use?

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Ear thermometers give instant readings, so they're a great option for monitoring kids. Image Credit: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

Nowadays, digital thermometers are most commonly used for their sensitivity to temperature changes. Not to mention, their stick forms make them easier to store and use. However, mums and dads might prefer a digital ear thermometer, instead, our medical expert notes.

"Parents should keep an ear thermometer at home to understand temperature changes. These are usually put to use by school nurses, too, as you get readings in a few seconds. But, if the child is bigger, about seven to 12 years old, and cooperative enough to keep a thermometer in the mouth for longer, then use a digital one," advised Dr Arora.

Stick thermometers are less susceptible to variables that can muddy readings. For instance, playing outside in the sun, accumulated ear wax, an ear infection or a warm bath can all lead to a higher reading on an ear thermometer.

"We even have pacifier thermometers for babies, who might cry and shout otherwise. You can put the pacifier in and get the temperature. It won't be accurate with a moving baby, but it can be easier when the infant is sleeping," said Dr Arora.

If you're eyeing infrared, touchless thermometers, Dr Arora warns that they're the least accurate of the bunch. The ease of temporal or forehead reading could be an attractive option for some, however.

How do I take a temperature?

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Several factors can distort a reading, and some of these can be avoided by closely following the manufacturer's instructions. Image Credit: Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels

A proper reading depends on the type of thermometer in use. Stick variations are kept in the mouth at an angle so that the tip is in contact with any surface, tongue, upper palate or the inside of the cheek, for up to a minute. Alternatively, it can go under the armpit.

Dr Arora also adds that if one's been under layers of blanket for some time, they must remove the covers before taking a temperature. "Give them some water, and expose them to room temperature for at least three to four minutes to get a better reading," he said.

What constitutes a fever? Different thermometers vary in this regard, especially in the 'normal' range of 37 to 37.5 degrees Celsius. Values above 37.5 degrees Celsius could indicate the beginning of a fever, but anything beyond 38 degrees Celsius is definitely a fever, says Dr Arora.

Before we dive into your options, our medical expert offers practical advice on defending yourself from viral pathogens this flu season. Dr Arora said: "Any imbalance in the body can lead to a low immune response, making you succumb to these viruses. You only need to do four things to balance your immune system: getting good sleep, ensuring adequate hydration throughout the day, avoiding unnecessary physical and mental stress, and eating well."

Never miss the onset of fever again, with some of Amazon's best-rated thermometers to keep at home. Shop them with a Prime membership to get free, same- or next-day delivery.

1. Best Overall: Vicks Speed Read Digital Thermometer V911


  • Quick eight-second turn-around
  • Large display reads in Fahrenheit or Celsius
  • Colour indication for easy reading
  • Water-resistant for thorough cleaning
  • Can double as rectal thermometer


  • Switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius is finnicky

Most oral thermometers take 60 seconds of staying still to produce accurate numbers. The Vicks SpeedRead V911 does it in a whopping eight seconds, quickly and efficiently, so kids are not subject to long wait times. Parents can even use it as a baby rectal thermometer, though Dr Arora advises against this method since it risks rectal tears at home. We love V911's big round display, which changes colours for easier at-a-glance analysis, turning red to indicate a high fever, yellow for an elevated temperature and green for all clear. The thermometer is water resistant for thorough cleaning after every use. Many reviewers pick it up for the entire family, and the changing colours keep children engaged, too. Do note that switching from Fahrenheit to Celsius can take some time to get it right.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh6 and two years for Dh9.

2. Best Ear Thermometer: Braun IRT 6525 Healthcare ThermoScan 7+


  • Age-based temperature reading
  • Newborn-friendly ear probe
  • Colour-changing display
  • Night light with no beeping
  • Comes with 21 disposable hygiene caps


  • Braun's hygiene ear caps are pricey

Purchased by over 300 Amazon shoppers in just the past month, Braun's ThermoScan 7+ Ear Thermometer is smart, reliable and newborn-friendly. It uses age precision technology to churn out readings based on your child's age, colouring the screen accordingly to indicate the presence or absence of a fever. With its wide-angle probe that warms up to 34 degrees Celsius beforehand, the thermometer can be used on any member of the family, even infant ears. It comes with an LED night light and silent mode for easy use in the dark as well. Reviews find this feature especially helpful for checking the temperature while their little ones are in bed. They call it an indispensable thermometer for any home with children.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh18 and two years for Dh25.

3. Best Smart Thermometer: Kinsa Smart Thermometer QuickCare


  • Automatic record-keeping via smartphone app
  • Eight-second temperature readings
  • Approved for newborns
  • Water-resistant for cleaning
  • App is available on iOS and Android


  • Needs a smartphone for the initial setup

Dr Arora notes how parents are quickly catching on to smart thermometers that store readings on their smartphones. App connectivity can be found with certain brands, including Braun, but our smart pick is Kinsa QuickCare for its user-friendly interface. This oral, rectal and armpit thermometer reads in eight seconds or less, and is FDA-cleared for adults and newborns, alike. Once it's paired to the Kinsa app on your phone, it can be used on its own, but the smart features are worth considering. As reviewers mention, the app's stored records are extremely helpful for following up on a prolonged fever. Each member in the house gets to have their own health profile and tracking data. The app uses your age, temperature and symptoms to offer further guidance as well. What's more, kids stay entertained with in-app games that help them keep still during readings.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh12 and two years for Dh17.

4. Best Contactless: TPZ No Touch Infrared Forehead Thermometer


  • Reads temperature within 0.5 seconds
  • Body and surface modes to measure temperature of a room or object
  • Stores 50 readings for tracking
  • Mute function at night


  • Doesn't arrive with batteries
  • Not as accurate as digital thermometers

If someone in the family is less tolerant of other methods, they'll have no complaints with a no-touch thermometer. TPZ's infrared temporal device zaps temperature readings within 0.5 seconds at a distance of 3 to 5cm. You can screen for both body and surface temperatures by switching between the two modes. There's a mute function to silence the beeping at night, and concerning readings are indicated with expressive emoticons on the LCD display. The thermometer is capable of storing up to 50 measurements for comparing highs and lows. Do keep in mind that infrared sensors are not as accurate as internal thermometers, but they win in terms of quick, hygienic readings. Several buyers comment on how easy it is to use.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh6 and two years for Dh9.

5. Best Digital for Kids: Tommee Tippee Digital 2-in-1 Thermometer


  • Flexible tip made of soft material
  • Reads in eight seconds
  • Lightweight and travel-friendly
  • Can be used orally or under the arm
  • Memory function stores 25 readings


  • Oral readings can be challenging with children
  • Axillary readings take longer

A well-known manufacturer of baby products, Tommee Tippee has a digital thermometer designed for young users in its range. The two-in-one device goes under the tongue or armpit, and the soft, flexible probe is gentle for your baby's delicate mouth and skin. Oral readings take eight to 15 seconds, while axillary measurements are recommended a longer wait of 60 seconds. It's small, lightweight and waterproof, making it the ideal choice for parents on the move, note reviews. With each reading, parents can compare it to the last temperature, thanks to its memory function. For more baby thermometers with a flexible tip, check out Chicco's 10-second device.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh6 and two years for Dh9.

6. Best for Ear and Forehead: iProvèn Medical Digital Ear Thermometer with Temporal Forehead Function


  • Options for both forehead and ear readings
  • Reads instantly in one second
  • Beeps and turns red when fever is detected
  • Comes with batteries


  • No mute option
  • Becomes less reliable after a year

Screen both ear and forehead measurements via iProven's dual thermometer. It's calibrated for readings from the temporal and tympanic infrared sensor, meaning you can switch the mode depending on the age and preference of the patient. You're getting one-second readings, where if a fever is detected, the device sounds an alarm with a red warning light. Everything's included in the package to get you started right away, from batteries to the manual. While it's easy to use, the forehead mode is not touchless, according to reviewers. They do love that kids don't have to wait for longer than necessary. However, some note that it becomes less accurate after a year of use.

7. Best for Newborns: Vicks Pacifier Thermometer


  • Prepares readings in two minutes
  • Has a natural, comfortable shape
  • Beeps when ready
  • Great for checking temperature at night


  • Can be difficult to use with a cough or cold

For newborn babies who may wriggle about during an oral or ear measurement, try a pacifier thermometer by Vicks. This method can take two minutes to produce a reading, so it'd be helpful to weigh the pros and cons of missing out on instant fever detection. The pacifier has an orthodontic design that keeps check-ins comfortable and natural for little ones. Once the temperature is locked in, it beeps for the parents to read. Reviewers compare the values with other thermometers and attest to the results. They add that the babies accept it as their regular pacifier. However, it'd be best to pick this up as a nighttime backup, as some find it difficult to keep it in when the baby has congestion.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh12 and two years for Dh17.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.