'Temperature stickers' could detect fever in seconds – and help spot potential Covid cases

A STICKER placed on the forehead can detect fever in seconds, and will help spot Covid cases.

The method is so simple to use it helps to detect a high temperature quicker than traditional methods, medics say.

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And it can be used by nurses or doctors at a distance from their patient – which is perfect during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Visual Temperature Indicator (VTi) has been successfully tested in care homes across the North of England over the past three months.

It is now set to be rolled out across the care sector from this Christmas.

The stickers – costing just 24p each – will be used to help find coronavirus cases, considering a high temperature is one of the key signs of infection.

It will also be used to check if residents have a reaction to the coronavirus vaccine.

Like all vaccines, the Pfizer Covid jab can cause a temporary high temperature as a side effect.

The innovative disc changes colour in just five seconds when applied to the forehead of someone who develops a fever.

A cross in the centre turns from green to red when it detects a body temperature of 37.5C or higher, according to the creators.

The benefit of the VTi discs compared to usual temperature checkers, such as thermometers, is they can continuously monitor the wearers' body temperature.

If a person's body temperature suddenly changes, so will the colour of the VTi disc. And it will return to green once the person's temperature drops back below 37.5C.

This could be useful for checking people who may find it hard to communicate if they feel unwell.

What are the main symptoms of Covid-19?

The COVID Symptom Study App, developed by health science company ZOE and analysed by academics at King's College London, helps to give clues on the symptoms of those with a positive Covid-19 test result.

The top five symptoms in school aged children are:

  1. Fatigue (55 per cent)
  2. Headache (53 per cent)
  3. Fever (49 per cent)
  4. Sore throat (38 per cent)
  5. Loss of appetite (35 per cent)

The top five symptoms in adultsare:

  1. Fatigue (87 per cent)
  2. Headache (72 per cent)
  3. Loss of smell (60 per cent)
  4. Persistent cough (54 per cent)
  5. Sore throat (49 per cent)

The most commonly experienced early symptoms are headache (82 per cent) and fatigue (72 per cent) – and this is the case for all age groups.

But only 1 per cent of people who reported fatigue and/or headache on the app ended up testing positive for Covid.

Therefore, the researchers say the two together alone may not mean Covid-19.

They said the three symptoms of a fever, persistent cough and loss of smell and taste and still the most important trio to watch out for.

Research from the app has also found that one in six (15 per cent) children who test positive for Covid also present with an unusual skin rash.  

Those over 65 reported being confused, disorientated and having severe shortness of breath more often than the other groups.

A third of app users experiencing delirium did not report suffering the ‘classic’ Covid-19 symptoms of cough and fever, while delirium was the only symptom for around one in five of hospitalised patients.

One care service in Hartlepool, County Durham, was involved in the trial.

Marie Robson, head of care at home healthcare service Elan Care Whitethorn, said: "It makes the complicated task of large-scale temperature health monitoring simple, and that is very helpful in care.

"The camaraderie and everyone looking out for each other has been wonderful.

"The VTi has shown its worth in protecting our community."

Her colleague, senior team member Trina Robinson, said the equipment even helped her diagnose an ear infection early.

She said: "It’s a brilliant early indication tool. A colleague pointed out my VTi was red and we confirmed my temperature was high with secondary healthcare checks.

“Within 10 minutes I left the site to follow guidelines and visited the doctor who diagnosed an ear infection – and thankfully nothing more serious.

"It means the VTi disc effectively buys ‘Golden Time’, which is vital to us.”

The discs – a mere few inches in size – were developed by UK firm Smart British Innovation Ltd.

They are cost effective, with prices set at around £2.40 for a pack of ten, including VAT.

But, although they can stay on someone's forehead "for days", they are not re-usable like thermometers are.

The director of VTi, John Hill, says its benefits are numerous in settings where social distancing and the health of others are a priority.

The discs can be monitored from a distance and involve less contact with the patient.

Mr Hill said: "A high temperature is the first symptom of many underlying health conditions, and the VTi disc can change forever the landscape across healthcare by making temperature change detectable the moment it happens.

“It offers an extra layer of protection not seen before while still enabling social distancing – keeping people safe in the knowledge that any changes can be picked up immediately is of benefit to everyone."

He added: “We will be using the VTi discs to help monitor patients ahead of the first wave of vaccines later in December.”

Mr Hill suggested that the disc will also be useful in the workplace, in offices and schools for example.

He said: "With the urgency to return to some sort of normal in 2021, the VTi disc means everybody in the workplace becomes a temperature welfare officer – minimising staffing and equipment cost for temperature screening."

The ink for the colour-changing crosses is made from billions of thermochromic capsules that are only a few microns in size.

The creators of the VTi disk say it measures body temperature,.

It's more accurate, as opposed to skin temperature, for determining if someone's core body temperature has risen.

Skin temperature can be influenced by how hot or cold the room is, or if someone is flustered.

It means some devices, like thermal guns pointed at the forehead, do not give a very accurate reading.

A hot flush caused by the menopause, for example, can cause the skin temperature to rise.

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