Can a Thermal Imaging Camera Help Detect Coronavirus?

Can a Thermal Imaging Camera Help Detect Coronavirus?

Since the start of the pandemic, experts are looking for ways to detect Covid-19. You will notice thermal imaging camera devices popping up in all sorts of public places.

Covid-19 symptoms can start anywhere from two days to two weeks after exposure to the virus. One of the said symptoms is fever. Fever is one of the ways your body tries to fight off infection.

The Covid-19 infection is unpredictable. There is no definitive Covid-19 temperature. That is because there are some people who test positive yet they never run a fever. There are also others with very high fevers.

Other symptoms of Covid-19 include the following:

  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose

Scientific studies support the idea of using thermal imaging systems to measure temperature. These systems include an infrared thermal camera or thermal scanner.

Thermal imaging systems can be accurate in securing someone’s surface skin temperature. Even without being close to the person. Moreover, it can measure temperature faster than the typical forehead or oral thermometer. But it is not accurate when used to take the temperature of several people at the same time.

What is a Thermal Imaging Camera?

A thermal imaging camera is capable of measuring skin surface temperature. It also can do imaging of all parts of the human body with precision and informative detail. It is useful for several applications of medical thermography.

A medical thermal imaging camera creates a thermal image. It displays different levels of heat that go out of the human body. This image serves as a signal to thermographers, operators, or doctors. It can determine when the temperature is normal or elevated.

Read on to know how to use the thermal imaging camera:

  • Measure only one person’s surface skin temperature at a time.
  • Position the person at a fixed distance from the thermal imaging system. He or she should be facing the camera.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
  • The image area should include the person’s whole face and the calibrated blackbody.

If there is an increase in temperature, use a different method to confirm a fever. Public health officials can help you identify if the fever is a sign of Covid-19 infection.

Is a Thermal Imaging Camera Effective for Screening People for Fevers?

When you use a thermal imaging camera, you should assess it. Check whether it will provide the intended results in high throughput areas. Thermal imaging cameras are usually used for initial temperature assessment. They are also often used for triage of individuals for elevated temperatures. This occurs in both medical and non-medical environments.

Thermal imaging cameras are not for measuring the temperatures of several people. It should not be at the same time in crowded areas. Experts do not recommend mass Covid-19 temperature screening.

A thermal imaging camera is useful in quick temperature assessment and triage of patients. It can also help identify who needs more evaluation or isolation.

How Does a Thermal Scanner Work?

A thermal scanner is effective in detecting people who have a fever. But the World Health Organization said it cannot detect people infected with Covid-19. After all, there are several causes of fever.

If you have a fever, the WHO advises that you call your healthcare provider. Especially if you need help. Or you could also seek immediate medical care.

How does a thermal scanner work? A thermal scanner is easy to use and deploy. You only need to set it up on the tripod. It will scan body temperature when visitors stand facing the scanner. It uses infrared to detect temperature and gives information about it.

A thermal scanner is a combination of a detector and a lens. It detects temperature and gives a representation of infrared radiation. Humans and surrounding objects emit infrared radiation.

You will find that the camera of the thermal scanner uses a special lens. This lens captures infrared light onto an infrared detector array. Then, it converts it into an electric signal and processes it to create a thermal image. Different colors represent different temperature ranges. The color is often called a “false color” image since the colors are not the original color of the object.

The colors in the image represent variations in the brightness of the object. It is at the observed wavelengths as well. This means, the higher the temperature, the brighter the color. Keep in mind that a thermal image does not produce a clear facial recognition image. It ensures privacy since you can only use the scanner for screening purposes.

Thermal Scanner Post Covid-19

You might have already noticed several countries easing Covid-19 lockdowns. Some are even starting to return to normal. Businesses are looking for ways to keep their staff and customers safe.

There is still a rising awareness in identifying high-risk individuals. These persons have elevated body temperatures that could show fever-related illnesses. Or the person might be Covid-19 infected. An individual with an elevated temperature cannot enter the establishment. They are also advised to get checked for the safety and health of the general.

People can use a thermal scanner as a frontline screening tool. It can be the first layer of environmental health and safety control. It can go alongside other safety measures such as cleaning and disinfecting.

But you should remember that you cannot use a thermal scanner to detect viruses.

You don’t need to worry about expenses for check-ups or testing. At Well HealthWorks, we will provide comprehensive and cost-effective healthcare solutions. Give us a call at 833-935-9355 to know more about our services. Send in your email at and we’ll answer any questions you have. We provide onsite health and wellness solutions for companies of all sizes.

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