The gallium thermometer

5 min read
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Le thermomètre au gallium

At first glance, the gallium thermometer may not be familiar to you and yet... This glass thermometer allows you to measure the body temperature of young and old. It quickly came to replace its brother, the mercury thermometer. But then, what is gallium? How did the gallium thermometer come about and who is this medical thermometer useful for? Our temperature taking experts answer these different questions with you.

The history of the gallium thermometer 📖

Before telling you about this tool for measuring temperature that we particularly like, do you know what gallium is?

Gallium, symbol Ga, has atomic number 31 in the periodic table of elements. It is part of the family of poor metals alongside tin, lead, aluminum, etc. It has the particularity of having a relatively low melting point, namely 29.76 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, do you want to play apprentice chemist with your children? Show them that gallium can melt in your hand, guaranteed effect! 👩‍🔬

The gallium thermometer is actually a body temperature measuring instrument that consists of three elements combined: gallium (Ga), indium (In) and tin (Sn). This alloy, also called Galinstan®, has replaced mercury in medical thermometers from December 1996, two years before the ban on the marketing of mercury thermometers. 

The gallium thermometer for the whole family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

More ecological and totally vintage in its glass case that we know well, the gallium thermometer is an object that makes us nostalgic and which is not toxic! The gallium thermometer is therefore a major health ally! Especially when you want to check your fever or take your children's temperature.

Its use : you can use it orally (oral use is done directly under the tongue), rectally (the most effective and common), or axillary (i.e. under the armpit). For effective measurement, simply place the tip with probe at the chosen location and wait a few minutes. You can read the temperature directly on the graduated bar of the gallium thermometer. Don't forget to disinfect your thermometer after each temperature measurement.

⚠️ To note ⚠️
If you can, of course, use the gallium thermometer at any age, our specialists still recommend that you have an electronic/digital thermometer (forehead or ear) at home for infants. In fact, non-invasive temperature taking with an infrared thermometer (which is perfect as a baby thermometer) is more recommended for young children.

The gallium thermometer in medical practices 🩺

If we love its little vintage side, the gallium thermometer is no longer really the star of medical practices. Although they are small, practical and economical, reading the temperature on a graduated axis is neither the simplest nor the most precise. We know that general practitioners and specialists need high-precision thermometers whose temperature reading must be done easily and quickly. Furthermore, the gallium thermometer is made up of an alloy of chemical elements at the heart of a glass tube; If the thermometer breaks when taking the temperature, the patient is exposed to a high risk of skin lesions. Finally, doctors cannot change the tips of the gallium thermometer and must therefore disinfect it after each patient.

You will have understood, although it can be used from time to time for all members of the family, the gallium thermometer is not the ultimate professional thermometer. We suggest you go further…

Other medical thermometers 🌡

Today, there are many alternatives to the gallium thermometer. So, if your needs go beyond and you want discover all the measuring devices, do not hesitate to continue your research on the different types of thermometers existing:

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