Detecting Elevated Body Temperature Using Thermal Technology

Elevated Body Temperature (EBT) is often a sign of fever, a key symptom of many viruses including the recent COVID-19 coronavirus.[1] One of the most effective, efficient and discrete ways of detecting persons with possible EBT, especially in locations with a large footfall, is using thermal cameras such as FLIR’s Exx and T series, Hikvision's body temperature screening range, and non-contact IR thermometers such as Extech’s IR200 Non-Contact Infrared Forehead Thermometer.

It is important to note that thermal cameras and IR thermometers cannot be used to diagnose illnesses such as COVID-19; however, they can identify persons with raised temperatures who may require further screening using virus-specific tests. Quick individual screening in locations such as airports, train terminals, businesses, factories, concert/sports venues, schools and universities may help to slow and ultimately halt the spread of viruses and infections without compromising the health of those screening and those being screened.

Both thermal cameras and IR thermometers provide a non-contact method of detecting possible EBT, ensuring that persons are kept at a safe distance from each other. When using FLIR Exx or T Series Thermal Imaging Cameras, individuals must be between 1 and 2m away from the camera. Elevated Body Temperature is detected by measuring the temperature of key areas such as the corner of the eye and forehead; cameras with a Screening mode can be programmed to issue an alarm when out-of-range temperatures are detected, again improving efficiency. Please see the video below for further information.

In addition to a Screening mode or Alarm function, thermal imaging cameras offer several advantages compared to IR thermometers, these include greater efficiency and a larger detection distance. The video below details the benefits of using Hikvision's DS-2TP318-3AUF Fever Screening Thermal Camera when checking individuals for EBT compared to when using an IR thermometer.

The recent coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic has highlighted the importance of finding tools that can be used to slow and/or prevent the spread of infection. Thermal cameras and IR thermometers provide a non-intrusive, quick and safe initial method of screening for persons who might be ill, allowing medical authorities to streamline testing. Thermal screening for the purposes of detecting EBT and/or as part of employee health and screening (EH&S) is already being employed by some first-responders, transportation agencies, businesses and factories. Hikvision [2] and FLIR cameras have also been utilised in selected airports to screen crews and passengers.[3]

For further clarification regarding the detection of EBT using FLIR thermal cameras and non-contact thermometers, please see FLIR's FAQ document available here.

For more information regarding our range of IR thermometers, FLIR cameras, Hikvision cameras, and EBT screening thermal cameras, please contact our sales team on 01642 931 329 or via our online form.

[1] NHS, Symptoms and What to Do: Coronavirus (COVID-19), last accessed 25 March 2020 <>

[2] BBC News, Will thermal cameras help to end the lockdown?, last accessed 12 April 2020 < >

[3] FLIR, Thermal Imaging for Detecting Elevated Body Temperature, last accessed 25 March 2020 <>