Wrist and Forehead Temperature Measurement as Screening Methods During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Background: Temperature screening checkpoints have become widely distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic, using various contactless methods of temperature measurement, including wrist and forehead measurement. Aim: In this study we aim to investigate the sensitivity and specificity of these two temperature measurement methods – wrist and forehead – compared with the standards of sublingual or axillary measurement. We also aim to investigate the influence of age, gender, device brand and diurnal effect on the temperature reading. Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups, each group using a different temperature measurement device. All participants had their forehead and wrist temperature measured, and this was compared to their axillary or sublingual readings. Results: The area under the curve for wrist measurement was 0.49 (95% CI 0.34 and 0.64), p>0.05, with a sensitivity of 46.2% and specificity of 53.3%, while the area under the curve for forehead measurement was 0.70 (95% CI 0.51, 0.89), p<0.05, with a sensitivity of 23.1% and specificity of 76.9%, PPV 1.59% and NPV 97.7%. Conclusion: Wrist and forehead temperature measurement is not accurate in detecting fever during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although forehead measurement is also not an ideal method, it nevertheless appears more consistent than wrist measurement.