Temperature recordings were widely used as a screening tool to help detect COVID-infected individuals. Traditional approaches to temperature screening have several important things that could be improved.
Because absolute temperature is measured in the axilla, mouth, or eardrum rather than the body’s core temperature, it has limited utility. As a result, there is no accurate reference value for what constitutes “normal” forehead temperature.
Researchers discovered that a temperature difference of 0.55oC or greater between the forehead and the eye is highly predictive of COVID-19 infection screening. More importantly, it helps distinguish between people with and without the infection when there are mild symptoms and a history of close contact with an infected individual.
Infrared thermography is a non-contact imaging modality that is both inexpensive and simple to use. The findings call into question the current COVID-19 screening approach and pave the way for adopting better strategies that can be easily deployed on a large scale.
However, because this was a pilot study, the results must be interpreted cautiously. Another potential limitation to be addressed before the method is widely implemented is ethical concerns about imaging of the face of individuals, which can be overcome by blurring the images and automating the method.
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