We Value Your Privacy

We and our partners use technology such as cookies on our site to personalise content and ads, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology across the web. You can change your mind and change your consent choices at anytime by returning to this site.

Update Consent
Loading ...

How to read a Tempa-Dot thermometer

Updated April 17, 2017

The 3M Tempa-Dot thermometer originally came out in the late 60s as a new and convenient way to take a child's temperature in just 60 seconds. It remains a school nurse standby, but some people struggle to understand the dot matrix temperature readings on the single-use, disposable thermometer.

Loading ...
  1. Open the thermometer and make sure you can see all the markings on the paddle side of the thermometer. Each dot has a specific amount of a special chemical mixture that turns blue when it gets to a certain temperature.

  2. Looking at the larger paddle part, you'll notice that it is split into two sections of little brownish dots. Each dot is a representative of a temperature degree. The columns of dots are the fractions of a degree, and the rows of dots are the degrees themselves.

  3. When reading, look for the last blue bubble that appeared. Each of the cubes has four rows of five dots. First, read the left side of the cube, which will tell you what degree it is. The follow the column up to see what fraction of a degree it is indicating. Therefore, if the last blue dot was in the 37 row and the 0.6 column, the person has a 37.6 degrees C (99.7F) temperature.

  4. Read this thermometer from right to left. Look at the right cube first. If all dots are filled (even a little bit), then look over to the left cube. When dots in the right cube are filled in, there is no question that the person has a fever.

  5. Tip

    Do not worry about bubbles that are not fully coloured. If it went to the next stage, the heat is moving faster than the chemical.

    Read the cube just like a graph.


    Do not eat or swallow the chemical on the strip.

Loading ...

About the Author

Loading ...