Minute to Understanding May 27, 2020

Why is temperature tracking important?

Because of COVID-19, workplace temperature testing is becoming more common at both large employers, like Amazon and Walmart, and small businesses. This coronavirus animation explains how tracking your body temperature can provide early warnings of fever and infection. You'll also learn how to track your temperature and safely get back to work.

Body temperatures is an early warning sign of infection.

Fever is one of your body's first reactions to infection and is common in illnesses like influenza and COVID-19. Monitoring your body temperature, even when you're healthy, can help detect disease early and help you know if it's okay to go to work or school.

Part of your brain called the hypothalamus continually adjusts your body temperature to maintain an optimal environment for your body functions. Body temperatures vary with gender, age, overall health, and environmental factors. A normal temperature is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, although recent studies indicate a slightly lower average.

When your immune system detects the presence of a virus in your body, it signals the hypothalamus to turn up the heat, creating a fever, a hot and hostile environment that weakens the virus and stimulates your immune response. A temperature higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit can indicate that your body is fighting an infection. By regularly monitoring your body temperature and learning what is normal for you, you can immediately detect subtly higher temperatures.

This might be an early warning sign that you're about to get sick, so take immediate measures to protect others.This is critical for diseases like COVID-19  where you are contagious several days before showing any symptoms at all.

Experts recommend taking your temperature twice daily around the same time of day, once in the morning within 30 minutes of waking and again in the evening. For best results, use the same thermometer for each reading, avoid eating or drinking anything hot or cold for at least 15 minutes beforehand, and don't take your temperature immediately after exercising.

Be sure to follow all instructions for using and cleaning your specific thermometer. Track your temperature on a notepad, chart, or confidential tracking app so you can see your results over time and note any variations as soon as they appear. If you have a fever or notice any abnormalities based on your typical results, stay home, monitor your symptoms, and call a doctor if needed. If you must go out, be sure to wear a cloth face mask and stay at least six feet away from others.

By understanding your own individual body temperature, noticing changes that might indicate an infection, and taking immediate measures to prevent spreading it to others, you can help family, friends, and coworkers stay safe, healthy, and productive.

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