Do You Need Probe Covers for a Thermometer?

Do You Need Probe Covers for a Thermometer?

When it comes to using a thermometer, specifically for taking someone's temperature, you may have wondered if it's necessary to use probe covers. Probe covers are small, disposable sleeves that fit over the end of the thermometer probe, providing a barrier between the probe and the object or person being measured. But do you really need them? Let's find out!

What are the benefits of using probe covers?

Using probe covers offers several benefits. First and foremost, they help prevent cross-contamination. When you use a thermometer to take the temperature of multiple people, there is a risk of spreading bacteria or viruses. Probe covers act as a protective barrier, reducing the chances of transferring germs from one object or person to another.

Additionally, probe covers are easy to use and dispose of, making them a convenient option. They are typically made of thin plastic or latex material, which allows for accurate temperature readings while still maintaining hygiene.

When Should You Use Probe Covers?

It is recommended to use probe covers in situations where there is a risk of cross-contamination. When using a thermometer to take someone's temperature, using probe covers can help reduce the risk of transmitting illnesses.

Do You Always Have to Use Probe Covers?

In some cases, you may not readily have access to probe covers. In this case, it is vital to clean and disinfect the thermometer between each use. The best way to clean the thermometer tip is by applying a disinfectant (e.g. 70% medical alcohol) with a damp cloth. Always refer to your thermometer's instructions for specific cleaning and disinfecting guidance. It is always highly recommended to use probe covers when available.

What to Keep in Mind

While using probe covers for a thermometer may not always be necessary, they offer significant benefits in terms of preventing cross-contamination and maintaining hygiene. Using probe covers can provide peace of mind and help keep you and others safe. So, the next time you reach for your thermometer, consider using probe covers for an extra layer of protection.


BV Medical. 2023.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cleaning. Sanitizing, and Disinfecting. 2021.

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