Musings of a Gaijin MD

Life in Japan as a Foreign Doctor

Thermometer Faux Pas October 17, 2011

Filed under: Daily Life,Hospital — GaijinMD @ 3:48 PM
Tags: , ,
Medical thermometer

Image via Wikipedia

As today was the first day available in our hospital for the annual flu shot, I eagerly participated.  One of the differences I noticed for this employee vaccination was the requirement of the body temperature to be taken.  In America, it is not the usual standard to check beforehand; in fact, you can get the vaccine even if you run a “low-grade” fever.  Also, while a fever is defined as temperature >38.3 degrees Celsius in America, in Japan it is >37.5 degrees.

Anyways, when I was told I would need to have my temperature recorded, they nicely pointed me towards the thermometers.  Now, these thermometers are the handheld versions that you can purchase at any typical drugstore instead of the ones that are attached to the blood pressure machines.

As I picked up one of these thermometers and took it out of the case, I stared at it for a while as I was wondering where the plastic sheath cover for it was located.  I did see the alcohol wipes so I proceeded to wipe it down.  All through this time, however, I still thought it was odd that there was no plastic cover, especially given how hygienic the Japanese normally are.

Well, I decided to stop wondering and stuck the thermometer into my mouth…….  And then the coordinator extraordinaire immediately stopped me to tell me it’s actually an under-the-armpit method, not the oral method.   😦  Of course, I promptly took it out after the thermometer had touched my tongue.

While not many other people witnessed this episode and I’m not really embarrassed, per se, I just want to scrub my tongue now.  I really don’t want to think about this any more, or else I am going to start gagging….


One Response to “Thermometer Faux Pas”

  1. Militza Says:

    LOL! Oh my, now I have a clear picture on my mind of you sticking the thermometer in your mouth and your reaction afterwards. Thank God it didn’t touch your tongue, eww.

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