Are Infrared Thermometers Dangerous? (Doctor’s Advice)

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We are in the 21st century, where technology has hit the ground. Different innovations are taking place day after day. The infrared thermometers are among the most convenient and easy to use temperature measuring instruments we have around. But then, are infrared thermometers dangerous?

These thermometers use infrared rays to detect temperatures without getting into contact with the object being measured. Measuring an object or particular body temperature is easy; you will aim at the surface or object, pull the trigger, and have temperature reading indicated on the LCD screen. 

Are Infrared Thermometers Dangerous?

The infrared thermometers are ideal temperature measuring instruments in the market. This device uses natural infrared wavelengths emitted by the body to detect temperatures. They don’t send back wavelengths of infrared light into the body, making it ideal for use. But then, are infrared thermometers dangerous?

Safety problems of infrared thermometers arise from the lasers. The lasers only help users to point to the target of measuring objects or bodies. However, the lasers emit a beam of light to highlight a user’s specific point to get accurate temperature readings. 


Even though they are weak and safe, they can damage the retina if an individual stares at the beam or even pose you to blinding possibilities. The rays of light from lasers cause laser radiations that might damage body tissues at large. The dangers of this beam of light increase the closer you get to the laser at large. 

It is scientifically proven that infrared thermometers can hinder the secretion of melatonin hormones in the body. Melatonin is a potent immune system modulator and also a sleep hormone at large. This way, the effect can disrupt the circadian rhythm at large. Therefore, it is advisable to point the infrared thermometers from a safe distance to lower the potential risks they pose to individuals. 

Possible Risks of IR Thermometers to Children

It is a usual occurrence that babies develop fever more often. For this reason, the IR thermometers get used around them quite often. When taking your baby’s temperature, you should ensure the laser beam doesn’t point to the eyes since this is dangerous at large. Your kid might suffer irritation and watering of the eyes in case there are continuous instances as such. They might even blind the kid if the radiations are severe. 

The infrared thermometers are also battery powered. Lithium in these batteries can cause severe health risks at large. It causes problems like the burning of the entire digestive system. You, therefore, need to keep it away from the reach of children.

How Do Infrared Thermometers Work

Traditionally, thermometers couldn’t detect a particular body or object’s temperatures without touching them. However, this is something of the past. The IR thermometers are non-contact options that measure a given body or object’s temperatures by detecting its energy levels. 

Typical IR thermometers constitute three main components. They include a laser, a thermopile or sensor, and the converging lens. They also have an amplifier, an ambient sensor, and other parts that work together to provide accurate temperature readings of a body. 


Accurate readings are obtained by directly focusing on the body you want to measure the temperature. The thermometer laser doesn’t constitute any function in measuring the temperature of the body or object. This part only helps users to aim at the object or body being measured accurately. There is also the ambient sensor that is placed near the thermopile. This part helps to compensate for thermal radiations that might get into the thermometer from the atmosphere. 

Infrared thermometers use infrared radiation emitted by bodies and objects to convert it into a screen temperature. First, emitted IR radiations from a human or body are absorbed by the lens and transferred to the thermometer’s thermopile or sensor. At the thermopile, the conversion of thermal energy into electrical energy takes place. The temperature of the thermopile or sensor increases depending on the amount of radiation that concentrates on it. However, the lower part of the thermopile remains slightly cooler as the radiations don’t directly focus.

A thermoelectric effect develops due to the difference in temperature in the thermopile’s upper and lower sides. The effect is transferred to the amplifier, where the electrical reading will be amplified. Once at this point, it is passed through a data acquisition circuit where the final temperature of that particular object or body is displayed on the LED LCD. The temperature readings on infrared thermometers are read in either Celsius or Kelvin units.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the IR Thermometers Accurate?

Infrared thermometers are among the excellent and accurate temperature measuring devices we have around. They are used in different industries to provide an instant, precise temperature of bodies. However, you will obtain accurate readings if they are used correctly, as directed by the manufacturers. 

Can You Use IR Thermometers on Humans?

Yes, you can use IR thermometers to detect human temperature. The detector senses emitted heat, which is converted into a temperature reading. The IR thermometers don’t pose any health risk to humans; it is safe for use. Make sure you point the gun from a distance to avoid the health risks posed by lasers.

Can IR Thermometers Measure Body Temperature?

Yes, they efficiently measure body temperatures regardless of room temperatures. However, you need to use it correctly per the instructions of the manufacturer to get accurate results.

Final Verdict

So, are infrared thermometers dangerous? The infrared thermometers are among the efficient temperature measuring instruments we have around. They perform effectively to provide accurate temperature readings. They are easy to use, and they detect the temperature of a body or any given object instantly.

However, when taking temperatures of a human, users should ensure they use the gun from a safe distance at large. This way, you avoid the risks posed by the laser beam of light. 

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Mario Cates