Barbadians have been advised to ignore a message circulating on social media warning them about the danger of having temperature guns pointed at the forehead.
The social media spokesman, who claims to be quoting an Australian nurse, suggested that it was less harmful for the temperature to be taken at the wrist or elbow since there were potential health issues caused by aiming the infrared gun at the pineal gland, located in the brain.
Head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Ronald Chapman, has debunked the assertion that the infrared light from the temperature gun causes any damage to the pineal gland, or was harmful in any way.
Mr. Chapman, who is also Deputy Chief Environmental Health Officer, stated: “The infrared light that you get from a temperature gun is … much less than the infrared light you get from the sun every day … and we live here in Barbados where we get over 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, and our pineal glands have not been destroyed.”
Mr. Chapman further submitted that the amount of radiation emitted from a cell phone placed next to the ear far exceeded anything emitted from an infrared gun.
He explained that the temperature checks were most accurate when the temperature gun was pointed at the forehead, or just behind the ear.
“The temperature is not taken by the wrist, behind the elbow or anywhere else. We need to trust the science.
“Everyone who goes on social media and seems convincing; talks a lot of stuff and shows charts is not necessarily an expert in the area,” he cautioned.
Mr. Chapman urged people operating the temperature guns to make sure that they follow the instructions carefully. A normal temperature can range from 36 to 37.2 degrees Celsius. Readings of 37.5 degrees Celsius or over signal a fever.