Daily, sometimes multiple times a day, temperature checks are likely going to become a part of our new ‘normal’ here in South Africa. This prospect might cause a bit of anxiety on your part. What happens if your temperature is checked and you have a fever? How will the process actually work? We break it down for you below.
What are routine temperature checks and how do they work?
A large number of businesses, stores, and educational institutions will begin conducting routine temperature checks on employees, shoppers, and students before individuals are given the go-ahead to enter the premises.
The temperature checks are usually conducted using no-contact thermometers, although thermal cameras can also be used. The process is so quick, you might not even notice that it is happening. Some high-end thermometers can conduct up to two readings per second!
What happens if I have a fever?
You will be allowed entry onto the premises if you are found to be fever-free. However, you are likely to be refused entry if your temperature is raised. It is up to you what to do next. Most medical experts will recommend that you consider contacting a doctor to discuss whether you should get tested for COVID-19. At the very least, you should try to limit your movement and self-isolate to reduce the chances of spreading the virus in the instance that you are indeed infected.
But don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet…
It is vital not to allow these regular temperature checks to give you a false sense of security. You should not assume that you are COVID-19 negative if you are NOT running a fever and let your guard down regarding the possibility of spreading it to others.
You should also not assume that everyone in the same shop or lecture hall as you is COVID-19 negative because they passed the temperature check. The reality is that a large portion of those who have the virus do not exhibit any symptoms at all. It is also unlikely for a fever to remain a symptom for the duration of the disease. Furthermore, not all thermometers or thermal cameras are as accurate as one might think.
In short, these temperature checks are there to help reduce the risk. Just like all of the other precautions that are being taken, it is not possible to eliminate the risk completely. So, keep up the hand hygiene, stay at home whenever possible, and continue to maintain strict social distancing.