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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Thermometers for this Virus

Last month, when I was shopping for March, I bought a new thermometer for our household. The one in the photo on the right is our old, digital, under-the-tongue thermometer. It's very reliable and accurate, but it takes time and effort (needs thorough cleaning after each use) to use. I thought we'd want a non-invasive thermometer so that we could quickly check our temps.

I am currently 12 days into staying at home all of the time. My husband is 8 days in. And my daughters are 5 days in to this home isolation. I knew we'd want some sort of thermometer for routine temperature checks during the initial 14 days for each of us. As far as we know, none of us has been exposed. But our immediate area has been particularly hard-hit with this virus, and no one can be certain of their exposure. 

The thermometer on the left is a digital temporal thermometer. After depressing the button, you place it against your temple, between your eyebrow and hairline. Temporal temperatures have the lowest rate of accuracy, as your skin can be warm from being in a very warm room (like the kitchen when cooking) or when wearing a hat, or your skin can be cooler than your internal temperature when you first come in from very cold outdoor temperatures. However, I do like this thermometer for quick checks, as they are completely non-invasive and the reading only takes seconds. When someone in our family has registered as being "hot" we follow that reading up with the old, digital under-the-tongue thermometer. The combination of the two thermometers has given us the best of both types.


  1. We only have a digital temporal thermometer at our house. Has your community had recommendations to frequently check body temperature? Michigan has identified its 2 first cases so I anticipate things will start ramping up around here. My workplace has been very proactive, including keeping personal protective equipment vital for treating COVID-19 under lock and key, only to be used when truly needed, to help ensure there will be enough necessary equipment for medical staff.

  2. We have two digital under the tongue thermometers. The digital temporal thermometer would be nice for quick checks!

    I think 3 students have been tested at Shawnee State University. That's about 25 miles from my office, and where my oldest son attended college.

    My dad has a post surgery appointment at Ohio State today. Just he and my mom are going, since dad will be able to drive home this time. It's an appointment at the surgeons office, so I'm glad he doesn't actually have to go into the hospital. You still never know.

    I hope you and your family stay well.


  3. Lili, I wonder if you would consider a post about being at home like your family is. What items you bought, what you wished you had more of, anything you feel wasn't worth having. I live in PA and only cases are on the east coast but only a matter of time before it is everywhere. If you feel uncomfortable I understand. I'm just trying to figure out how much for 5 of us because I never thought this would be so bad across our country.

  4. Hi Kris,
    I saw that in the news last night. I pray that other states learn from Washington state's mistakes. I have heard that some hospitals have had theft problems with the protective supplies. So, I'm glad your hospital is keeping those items under lock and key.

    In answer to your question -- no, we've not been advised to check our temps. We are doing these checks as a way to see if someone in the house needs to rest, away from the rest of us (happened a couple of times already), is safe to be cooking family meals/handling family foods/be in the kitchen, or to see if someone needs to ramp up their immune-boosting. In addition to trying to prevent coronavirus, we're also trying to get and keep ourselves as healthy as possible. So far, we've had a couple of minor viruses in our house in just the last week.

  5. Lili,

    Sending you and your family positive vibes and thoughts through this crisis. I hope no one you know and love have/or have been affected by your living so close to those infected. It's scary especially for the young and elderly. My sister's MIL is in a nursing home and the home has implemented many visitor restrictions. We don't live within close proximity of any affected city in PA but I guess the old saying is correct, better safe than sorry!


  6. Hi Angie,
    I'm glad for your parents that they don't have to go into the hospital. It's probably better for hospitals and patients if follow-up appointments are off-site, anyway. Our hospitals are now banning visitors. That move likely prevents spread within the hospital and also keeps areas free of people who don't need to be there.
    I pray you and your family stays safe, too.

  7. Hi Cheryl,
    Some of the most important items we bought (important because they are now in short supply) include hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies (bleach, Lysol, ethyl alcohol), OTC meds like zinc lozenges, advil/tylenol, elderberry extract, electrolyte replacement powder, vitamins C and D, extra toothbrushes (we change out toothbrushes often when sick), extra feminine hygiene supplies, soap/detergent (bar, liquid hand soap, dish detergent -- I make my own laundry soap), paper towels (I don't usually buy these, but I bought a jumbo pack), bathroom tissue, facial tissues, orange juice frozen concentrate, dry rice, dry beans, long-keeping veggies/fruit such as carrots, onions, potatoes, cabbage, celery, apples, dried/canned fruit, meat, frozen veggies, milk, and sugar. Sugar is not a necessity, but I'll be able to make the rhubarb (when I can cut it in a few weeks) a lot more palatable with sugar. Also, I bought a few stamps for those business transactions that have to be mailed.

    Basically, I went through my whole house and inventoried everything that we normally use and figured a 6 to 8-week supply. I normally buy institutional sizes in foods, so for me to buy a 50-lb sack of rice or 25-lb sack of beans is "ordinary." Make sure you have enough of the rx meds and OTC's, cleaning supplies, paper products, hygiene supplies, and food to last 6 to 8 weeks. I have a spare fridge and small freezer, so I packed those full.

    Also, some things/materials to keep yourselves busy and entertained, like craft projects, knitting supplies, gardening seeds, a puzzle or games, a new book or magazines. Having something to occupy yourself with that has nothing to do with this virus will help the time pass.

    What I wish we had bought were paper napkins. We use cloth napkins and I think paper would have been more hygienic. I didn't buy, but maybe wish I'd bought some liquid cold and flu medicine (like Nyquil). I don't usually use that stuff, but it may be a good item to have. I do have cough syrup and cough drops, so hopefully we won't need anything else. And I wish I'd bought 1 more box of electrolyte replacement powder. The brand I buy is Emergen-C. 1 box makes 30 quarts of electrolyte fluid.

    I also bought 1 box of nitrile gloves and 2 pairs of household cleaning gloves. The nitrile gloves are for when one of us has to take care of a sick one. The heavy-duty cleaning gloves are to wear when disinfecting, especially with bleach. Nitrile gloves are something we normally keep on hand, but we had gotten down to the bottom of the box. They make great gardening gloves for pulling weeds because you can actually feel what you're pulling. So they won't be wasted.

    I hope this helps.

  8. Thank you. My daughter is getting married on April 18 and I am very nervous that it might not happen with family present. Right now I have literally just hundreds and hundreds of cookies and cupcakes in my freezer. I can't even mention that it might be a problem to her. I am praying this moves fast and we can get it under control. So many online making comments that it is only the flu. Can't remember so many getting ill at the same time and the worry.

  9. I only have one type of thermometer (the old kind). I have several more that's new in the package that I bought on clearance from Kmart store closing in our state. My plan is to immerse the thermometer in alcohol to keep it clean and ready for use. I don't know if anyone here remembers the old days when doctors kept a bunch of thermometers in a cup of alcohol. They would just shake the thermometer a couple times and pop it in our mouths, then after put it straight back in the cup (if I remember correctly). I do an alcohol soak for my toothbrush too. Although I wash my brush with soap and water after each use, I also soak it periodically in alcohol. That way I can change my toothbrush less often than the recommended 3 weeks.

    For just us, I have been using facial tissue (even tp, if just me alone) as a napkin. It's softer than napkins. My husband cant help but make a remark about this, but I personally don't get why...not?

    Have a good, safe day,

  10. I just heard the 3 students tested at Shawnee State University came back negative. I'm relieved for now, but feel it's only a matter of time. I pray this is under control soon.

    I wanted to mention a favorite cough/congestion medicine of ours. It can be found in Mucinex or Robitussin, maybe more cold medicines but I'm not sure. It's Dextromethorphan HBr (cough suppressant) with Guaifenesin (expectorant). Before it was even available OTC, my mom's doctor prescribed it for her for sinus congestion and colds. She can't take a decongestant due to high blood pressure.

    My husband has high blood pressure, and decongestants raise my heart rate to an uncomfortable level. So my family takes this for colds and sinus infections. Even the boys take it because it's what I always have on hand, and say it really helps! It really relieves congestion and cough.

    The Mucinex and Robitussin are pricey. The off-brand Mucinex is still pricey. The best deal I have found is the equate Tussin DM Max Cough and Chest Congestion DM liquid (Guaifenesin USP 400 mg, Dextromethorphan HBr USP 20 mg). It's much cheaper if your taste buds can handle the taste. Definitely try this if you can't take some cold medicines!



  11. Hi again, Cheryl,
    Wow, this is a tough decision to face for your daughter and your family. Would your daughter consider a tiny ceremony in April with a large reception in July or August?

    I don't think the coronavirus is comparable to the flu. I think the two have some significant differences. COVID-19 appears to be much more contagious, as well as significantly more dangerous to older people, even at age 60 (which I don't normally consider old). The Seattle Public School system has just announced that it will cancel school for the next 2 weeks, beginning tomorrow. I can not ever remember an instance of the Seattle Public School district closing for weeks, only one or two days for snow. And this was announced so suddenly, with very little warning to parents. They don't ever do this for the flu, here. Now on the plus side, for younger people, COVID-19 appears to be somewhat mild. So that's a good thing.

    I read an interview with the Health Minister of the UK, yesterday. She's 62 and appears to be otherwise healthy. She's tested positive and said it was pretty nasty.

    We still don't know how the warm up in weather will affect this virus. I'm praying that this one follows a similar pattern to colds and flus. As we often say, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Maybe you could put the idea in your daughter's mind that she could have a large reception later in summer? Or "stream" the ceremony online for those who can't or don't want to travel or be in a large group of people?

    Good luck with this, Cheryl. You have your hands full right now. I'll say a prayer for you that God makes His will known to you in this.

    1. If we have to quarantine she'll have no choice. All I think about is all that space with cookies that I could be filling with meat😂. Guess the cookies will be eaten one way or another.

  12. Hi YHF,
    Oh, wow! I do remember the cup of thermometers. That's so funny to think that's how they did things. With just the two of you and a bunch of thermometers, you'll probably be fine on the cleaning aspect.

    I don't see why you couldn't use tissues or TP for a napkin. I use TP as "tissues" when we're out of facial tissue. I've known people who take a roll of TP and place it inside one of those taller, square tissue boxes (cutting the bottom off of the box), then pull up the TP and tear of how much they need for nose-blowing. And I know a lot of families who use paper towels as napkins. It's all paper products. I thought what I will do with our napkins -- I've got a lot of cloth napkins (I inherited so, so many from my parents and grandparents). I'm just going to start changing them out every day, instead of every 3 or 4 days. We each sit at our own place of the table and reuse our own napkins. But for the time being, I'll just put new napkins out each day and wash them all more often. I'm doing the same with dish towels/rags right now, just changing them a couple of times per day, instead of once per day. That seems to be working. A little extra laundry for me, but that's all.

    Stay well and safe, yourself, YHF!

  13. Hi again, Angie,
    Well, that's a relief about the students. I'm right there with you, praying this will come to a quick end.

    Thank you for those recommendations on the cough syrup and expectorant. I will keep those in mind if we need it, and check our own bottle of cough syrup to see what's in it. Thank you!

  14. Hi Cheryl,
    Well, you'd have lots of cookies for snacking, if your area does anything like a quarantine! But I'm hoping that your daughters wedding can take place. It would be an understatement to say that she and you are really looking forward to this event.

    Seriously, why not buy some canned meat? Meats like canned tuna and chicken are shelf-stable and keep for a couple of years. Just check the expiration dates on the cans. I don't know if you have a Costco membership, but when I was volunteering for some fund-raising luncheons on a regular basis, the lady who shopped bought canned chicken from Costco and it came in those larger cans, like about a 12-oz can. We used them for chicken salad, but they'd also be useful for chicken soup, chicken fajitas/burritos, and casseroles. And most of us already know several ways to use canned tuna -- salads, sandwiches, casseroles.

    Praying for all of our safety and a quick end to this virus.


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