You wake up in the middle of the night with body aches and chills even though you're buried under blankets, and have a forehead that's hot to the touch. All signs point to a fever, but before you start drafting that out-of-work sick email to send to your boss in the morning, it's time to verify your suspicions by taking your temperature with one of the most valuable tools in your bathroom first-aid kit—your trusty thermometer.
"Thermometers are a good tool to help assess health," says Amber Brown Keebler, MD, a physician at Nebraska Medicine. "Infections that are potentially serious are usually associated with fever." That's why it's a good idea to keep a regular eye on your body temperature.
The average body temperature is 98.6 degrees, but normal body temperature can range anywhere between 97 and 99 degrees, according to the Mayo Clinic. "A fever is defined as a body temperature greater than 100.4 degrees," explains Brown Keebler. "Body temperature is a physical sign of the body's inflammatory response, usually to infection."
If a fever lasts longer than 24-48 hours, Brown Keebler recommends reaching out to your primary care physician, so it's a good idea to keep taking your temperature regularly when you're filling sick and feverish. But, with all the thermometers on the market these days, how do you go about picking out the best, most accurate one? In general, Brown Keebler simply recommends getting a thermometer that is easy to use and easy to read the result.
For example, if taking a temperature orally doesn't seem like it will work out (i.e. if you have small children), getting a no-touch forehead thermometer or ear thermometer works, too. See below for the best thermometers in 2022.