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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

VERIFY: Can being outside impact your temperature?

Many businesses are having customers and employees take their temperature with a non-contact, infrared thermometer.

SAN DIEGO — Nowadays, it's common to have your temperature taken before being allowed to enter a business. However, is it true that your temperature can vary dramatically, even if taken just minutes apart? 

News 8 reporter Shannon Handy put a thermometer to the test. An initial reading indicated her temperature was within the normal range.

Then, she started walking outside in the station parking lot. After 10 minutes, she took her temperature again. It went up about 0.5 degrees.

Next, she sat in her car without the air conditioner on for five minutes. That resulted in a higher reading.

Similar experiments have resulted in much bigger changes, proving your temperature can vary within a matter of minutes.

To explain why News 8 spoke with Kaiser Permanente family medicine doctor Heidi Meyer.

"If you are in an ambient heat source, the sun or infrared light source or near a heater, that's going to increase the surface temperature," said Dr. Meyer.

Are there ways to get a more accurate reading? Yes.

Meyer suggested sitting down in some shade, drinking water and making sure your forehead is dry.

“You should not be perspiring when someone is using these non-contact thermometers," said Meyer. "It needs to be done over a hairless area which is why the forehead is the logical choice.”

Finally, are certain thermometers more accurate than others? Again, yes.

Meyer said the most accurate thermometer reading will be a rectal one, but that an infrared thermometer is fine.

Keep in mind, temperatures can range between four and five degrees, so don't be concerned until you hit a certain point, despite steps you've taken to bring it down.

“We are really looking for a temperature [that is] 100.4 degrees," said Meyer. "That is an actual temperature. If they truly have a fever, sitting in the shade is not going to bring it back down.”

If you have a question you'd like us to investigate and verify, send an email to verify@kfmb.com

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