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What is continuous body temperature measurement and why is it better than single measurements?
You know how much more a video shows you than a photo? – well the same can be said about continuous temperature measurement and single temperature readings. Continuous temperature measurement shows the full story while a single temperature measurement only shows a moment.
Never miss night-time fever spikes again.
Body temperature and fever are usually measured using infrequent single temperature measurements which tell you what your temperature is right now. Whether you use a mercury, digital or infra-red thermometer, they all only show your current body temperature. What they can’t show you is what your temperature was 4 hours ago, or the fever spikes and dips that happened during the night or while you were asleep. Continuous temperature measurement on the other hand measures your body temperature continually, 24/7, while you are awake and while you sleep. The result is temperature curves which show trends and averages but more importantly show fever spikes and dips which often occur while you sleep and are therefore easily missed.
Why does fever spike at night?
Fever is the body’s tool to fight infection, it is a symptom of a disease rather than the disease itself. A high temperature is a natural immune system reaction to a bacterial or viral infection. The immune system knows the most effective time to heal is when the body is at rest and that is usually when you are sleeping. That is why fever often spikes at night and can be missed so easily.
Temperature trends help you make better treatment decisions.
An advantage of temperature tends is that you can see whether a fever is still climbing, has perhaps plateaued, or is even falling again. This information can help you made decisions about when to give medication. You may not want to give medicine unless the body temperature goes higher than a certain point, but you also don’t want to wait too long to make a decision… tracking a fever means that you can see whether a fever is still on the rise or perhaps has already started to fall and medicine is no longer necessary.
Temperature curves as an early warning tool
Another advantage of continuous body temperature measurement is using a temperature curve as a diagnostic tool – even at home. Whether post-surgery or during a pandemic spotting a fever as early as possible allows you to start treatment or take steps to break the chain of infection. Having a temperature curve means you can distinguish between a what is possibly just a single short-term spike in temperature or is in fact the beginning of a fever. Particularly after surgery or chemotherapy quick intervention and treatment can make the difference between a spreading infection or smooth recovery. If a child or elderly family member has a bad cough you can monitor their temperature and watch for the first signs of a fever which might indicate the infection is moving into the lungs.
When fever is the difference between a mild infection and a more serious one.
Early treatment of an infection leads to a faster recovery and less time spent in bed feeling awful. Sometimes a mild infection can get worse when not treated quickly enough or properly. A cold can turn into bronchitis, a urinary tract infection into a kidney infection or an itchy ear into an ear infection. In all these cases a rise in temperature will indicate the infection is getting more serious and the earlier you detect this rise in temperature the earlier you can begin effective treatment. Many other infections begin with other symptoms before the body temperature rises, a stomach pain could be the first symptom of gastroenteritis i.e. salmonella, a sore throat the first symptoms of tonsilitis, a headache the first sign of meningitis or a rash the first sign of chicken pox. In all these cases tracking the body temperature at the first sign of symptoms means you can monitor the infection and detect when it becomes more serious allowing you to treat the infection faster and more effectively.
Continuous temperature measurement and monitoring is also particularly useful with vulnerable patients who cannot communicate how ill they feel. Children with special needs or elderly patients who struggle to cope alone can be carefully monitored outside of a medical environment.
The future of medical diagnostics
Looking towards the future of healthcare and the rapid developments in medicine, continuous temperature measurement will play a vital role in diagnosing the root cause of an infection. On a very simple level temperature measurement can help diagnose whether a patient has a fever and is fighting an infection.
On a more complex level the temperature curves generated by continuous measurement can be used to identify the root cause of a fever. The WHO is very clear on its advice that the use of antibiotics must be massively reduced, this means being able to distinguish between a bacterial infection, which can be cured with antibiotics, and viral infection which cannot, is fundamental. Temperature curves and fever patterns will play a crucial role in this field in the future. This is an area of medicine where temperature curves or more precisely fever patterns will be a gamechanger. Fever caused by malaria, typhoid, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and many more, all have their own individual pattern, and if you can identify the pattern, you can pinpoint the cause of the fever.
In the past fever patterns and temperature curves were only part of medical textbooks – theoretically possible but practically much too time consuming – continuous temperature measurement makes temperature curves a realistic and cost-efficient diagnostic tool.
STEADYTEMP® enables continuous temperature in the home. The STEADYTEMP® sensor patch in combination with the free Health Journal app means that you can track body temperature, monitor symptoms and medication and follow and infection from the development until the recovery. STEADYTEMP® gives you the tools to provide the best possible care for your loved ones when they are sick.