Banana Leaf

The Truth Behind Temperature Checks

By: Nishk Sutaria and Pooja Raghuram



As you walk up to your local SuperCuts, you read the sign on the front door. It reads “Please wait before entering. Someone will let you in.” You see someone motion you inside and as you open the door you are halted by a temperature gun pointing at your forehead. The machine beeps and the hairdresser lets you in. This is the process of getting your temperature checked. With over 37 million cases of COVID-19 in the world, governments and companies are required to take proper precautions for everyone’s safety. This device can take your temperature without touching you only because of a lens that focuses infrared light onto a detector. This detector will use the light to identify your temperature, and if it is above 99 degrees, you wouldn’t be let in.


The Power of Infrared

Infrared light has the ability to penetrate tissue, skin, muscle, organs, the skull, and even the brain. The power of infrared is amazing; it is used to study the human body and animal heat patterns and often used in advanced warfare. Infrared light is on the higher end of the light spectrum which shows its great power.


Fake News

Over the past couple of months, countless news stories have been published claiming that the new infrared thermometers are going to take a large toll on the pineal gland, found on the forehead. The pineal gland is an organ that secretes melatonin. The destruction of this gland reduces the amount of melatonin production. The claim given is that pointing an infrared thermometer at the pineal gland will expose it to harmful radiation. This would mean that you would have a harder time sleeping, and it would drastically mess up your sleep cycle. However, this claim has been consistently debunked by multiple news programs as well as verified websites. ABC 6 and Dr. Haris Sahir proved that the infrared beams weren’t actually pointing towards the pineal glands, but actually just picking up the natural infrared heat that is emitted from our bodies.


Stop the Spread

The internet is a knowledge haven but also a place of lies and mistrust. Social media, a large part of the internet, can be especially deceiving. With fake news spreading throughout the world, many are blinded by the released propaganda. What should you believe? Whom should you trust? The truth is that we all need to look deeper and research more into what we are reading and hearing.


To get deeper insights on whom should you believe, watch the captivating TED-style talk at EnspirED 2020 titled "Why Should I Believe Them?"


Work Cited

Editors, BD. “Pineal Gland.” Biology Dictionary, 17 May 2019, biologydictionary.net/pineal-gland/.


Levy, Adam. “Infrared Light Offers A Cooler Way to Defrost.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 8 Apr. 2019, www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/infrared-light-offers-a-cooler-way-to-defrost/.


Ali Swenson, Arijeta Lajka. “NOT REAL NEWS: False Stories from This Week about Hydroxychloroquine, COVID-19 Tests, Infrared Thermometers.” 6abc Philadelphia, WPVI-TV, 1 Aug. 2020, 6abc.com/not-real-news-false-fake-infrared-thermometers/6347392/.


Swenson, Ali. “Infrared Thermometers Used for COVID-19 Testing Do Not Pose Risk to Pineal Gland.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 28 July 2020, apnews.com/article/fact-checking-9121703294.

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