Perfect Surveillance Companion! Stay compliant with local guidelines with an inexpensive, precise, IR forehead/ear thermometer.
I am certain that the year 2020 will not be one that we will look back upon fondly. Over the past 9 months, it seems that every day brought new hurdles and challenges. While working in a hospital setting and clinic, and assuming the Cubmaster role for the local Cub Scout Pack, it has been difficult keeping up with the ever-changing local, regional, and national guidelines regarding COVID-19. From toilet paper to cleaning products to refrigerators to thermometers and beyond, many struggled to keep up. When we were finally able to open back up, we were told of the need to regularly check temperatures. The problem, however, was that we did not expect to have shortages on many of the items that we would need to follow the guidelines. While at work, we checked temperatures with medical-grade devices such as the Covidien Genius 2, or Welch Allyn Suretemp. To comply with meetings for our Cub Scout pack, I needed a reasonably priced, yet reliable thermometer. Excitedly, the PC809 multi-functional thermometer would allow me to do that for both my Cub Scouts and for my family. As an added bonus, it can work in a contactless manner.
The PC809 Multifunctional Infrared Thermometer arrived in a 2 3/8 inches wide by 6 5/16 inches tall by 1 1/2 inches thick white retail package. The cover provided the product name along the top left, a blue rectangle along the bottom with C/F, 1sec, 0.2C precision, and ear/forehead details. The middle of the panel was dominated by a 4 1/4 inches tall by 1 1/16 inches wide outline of the thermometer. The right side panel provided a lateral view of the thermometer and listed the color as blue, while the left panel provided an SKU sticker, a babyface with “Forehead Temperature” icon, and a second SKU icon along the bottom of the panel. The rear panel listed the product name along the top left, three icons along the middle (professional, accurate, multifunctional), and the Shenzhen address, the www.pacomsz.com website, and several product manufacturing labels along the bottom. The top panel, like the front/back panels, displayed the product name. I lifted the top flap and removed the thermometer, the included grey storage bag, the two AAA batteries, and the instruction manual.
The PC809 thermometer measured 2.39 ounces (3.10 oz with included batteries installed), 6-inches tall by 1 1/2 inches wide by 1 3/4 inches thick at the widest point (tip), and 1 inch thick at the narrowest point. The grey drawstring bag measured 2 7/8 inches wide by 7 1/4 inches long and easily accommodated the thermometer. When ready, open the drawstring bag, and then remove the thermometer. Slide the back panel down, install the included AAA can batteries, and then reinstall the back cover. The thermometer has a single shield-shaped blue button with a little white thermometer icon painted onto the surface. Just above the button, you will find a 1 inches wide by 7/8 inches tall LCD display. To check the temperature, you can either touch the surface of the forehead, scan about 1-2 inches from the surface of the skin/mouth, or you can remove the plastic tip and insert the scanner into the ear. With the thermometer positioned, press the blue button once, wait for the high-pitched beep, and then the LCD display will display the temperature.
I touched the surface of my forehead with the thermometer, pressed the button and the display showed 97.8F. With the thermometer positioned 2 finger-widths away from my forehead, the thermometer displayed 97.4F. I found the temperature dropped another half-degree by adding another finger width beyond the two fingers tested above. At four fingers the machine would not register the surface temperature of my skin. I opened my mouth, scanned the tongue from a distance, and found that the thermometer displayed 97.4F. I then removed the plastic cover, inserted the ear tip into my ear, and pressed the blue button. The thermometer displayed 97.7F. I repeated this process using another infrared thermometer and I found the temperatures to be quite similar and precise. Using the Covidien Genius 2 Ear thermometer and the PC809 infrared mode, both touching and not touching my skin, I found the temperature readings differed by only 0.2F. I repeated the test by placing each device into an ear. The PC809 was placed into my left ear and the Covidien Genius 2 was placed into my right ear. I was pleased to find that they both displayed 97.3F. I found similar readings between the Suretemp device and the PC809. Despite testing 40 people, I did not find a single case of fever (>100.4F).
The 23-page instruction manual, provided a useful introduction, packing list, and product description. At the bottom of page two, you will find a useful temperature chart for the forehead (97-99.5F), ear (96.4-100.4F), mouth (95.9-99.5F), anus (97.9-100.4), and Axilla (94.5-99.1). I would recommend purchasing a different type of thermometer if anal temperatures are needed. The third page provided information about the forehead mode (all ages) and the ear mode (ages >3 months). The fourth panel detailed the 1-second quick measurement, reliable readings, 32 memory slots, ear/forehead modes, the ability to change between C/F, the ability to turn on/off the sounds, and orange (low fever) and red (higher fever) readings, and automatic off features. The 10th page provided useful information about how to recall the 32 saved temperatures (hold the main button for 3 seconds) and how to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit (hold the main button for 6 seconds).
Subsequently the manual detailed how to turn on/off the buzzer/speaker/vibration (9-second hold), and how to set the thresholds for low (preset to 99.5F) and high fever (preset to 100.4F). If you have caught onto the pattern above, holding the button for 12 seconds will activate the low-temperature mode, while holding the button for 15 seconds will activate the high-temperature mode. Once you are within the settings, you can press the button to increase the temperature incrementally by 0.1C/0.2F. I loved that the low threshold could not exceed 100.2F/37.9C and that the high threshold could not exceed 38.9C/102F. Once you have chosen the level, hold the button for 5 seconds to set the temperatures. I did not feel the need to change the temperatures and thus I left them alone. The manual then detailed the need to have known baseline temperatures, cleaning and disinfection recommendations (cotton swab and anhydrous ethanol for the sensor), troubleshooting tips, specifications, symbol descriptions, and then maintenance tips.
With the need for Coronavirus testing, I have used the thermometer to check the temperatures of my four children, my wife, and several Cub Scouts at our recent socially-distanced pack meeting. I loved the option to use the device like a temporal scanner, like a contactless infrared thermometer, and like an ear thermometer. Ther fast 1-second temperature check may be the perfect way for a parent to check the temperature of a child. You can use it in the ear or you can scan the skin if needed. This device would be perfect for homes with small children, for homes with ailing parents, for daycares, for gyms, for restaurants, and for anyone that wants to monitor temperatures. I was very happy to find that the inexpensive $30 Caroune thermometer was able to compare to the $150-200 Covidien Genius 2 device. Furthermore, you can use the Caroune thermometer without having to add the expense of extra ear tips. If you are in the market for an inexpensive way to self-monitor or to monitor others around you, I would definitely consider picking up a PC809.
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