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Tips for Tracking Your Temperature

May 05, 2020

People who develop COVID-19 can experience a wide range of symptoms. One of the main symptoms is fever, or having a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. For those exposed or those with loved ones at highest risk for severe illness for COVID-19, tracking your temperature each day can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among loved ones, coworkers and communities. The earlier you become aware of a fever, the quicker you can isolate yourself from others and talk to a doctor.
Who should track their temperature?
There are certain circumstances where tracking your temperature is important to help keep those around you safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you track your temperature if:
  • You are an essential worker. If you are required to go to work because you are considered an essential employee or work in an essential industry, your employer may take your temperature before you start each shift. You should also regularly watch for symptoms at home, which includes taking your temperature each day.
  • You have been in contact with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19. This includes contact in the 48 hours before their symptoms first began. You should isolate yourself for 14 days, take your temperature twice a day to monitor for fever and self-monitor for other symptoms, including coughing or shortness of breath.
Thermometer options
There are a variety of thermometer types, including digital, liquid-in-glass (mercury), noncontact (touchless infrared) and disposable dot matrix or phase-change (single use). When you use a thermometer to take your body temperature at home, be sure to follow the specific instructions for using and cleaning that thermometer.
To track your temperature and symptoms over several days, you can use this log from the CDC. Mobile apps like Body Temperature Recorder are also popular.
Suggestions for accuracy
For an accurate temperature reading:
  • Wait 30 minutes after eating, drinking or exercising before taking your temperature.
  • Wait six hours after taking fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, before taking your temperature.
  • If you use a liquid-in-glass thermometer, hold the tip under your tongue near the back of your mouth. Do not bite down.
If you want to learn what to do if you develop a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19, visit the CDC.

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