Medical equipment

Mercury Thermometer


Mercury thermometer

In a time when digital and electronic technologies are rapidly developing, and enter into all spheres of human activity, playing an increasingly important role and becoming more and more indispensable for each of us, there are the usual items and things from our everyday use, which will long serve us and be useful.

Such items can include well known “Thermometer“, or as more correctly it is called – Mercury Medical Thermometer.

Even after the emergence of a large number of models of electronic thermometers, mercury thermometer has not lost its popularity and is the most common device for measuring temperature of human body.

How does a Mercury Thermometer?

Main element of the mercury thermometer is a capillary tube. The tube is sealed on both sides and from inside her deflated air. At one end of the tube is a reservoir of mercury. For measuring temperature there are special scale. The scale marked on the bar attached to the tube. The measurement range of the scale from 34 to 42 degrees Celsius. For accurate measurement of body temperature, each degree on the scale is composed of 10 divisions 0.1 degrees Celsius.

The principal difference medical thermometer from ordinary mercury thermometers for measuring ambient temperature, is the junction of the reservoir and the mercury capillary tube is specially curved and slightly narrowed, which in turn impedes the movement of mercury in the opposite direction.

How does a mercury thermometerWith this design, “thermometer”, when measuring the temperature of the human body mercury is heated, it expands slowly and reaches its maximum level, showing the correct temperature.
But in this case, after the termination of the temperature measurement and the effect on the thermometer, the mercury does not change its position and the reading on the scale is fixed at the maximum value achieved during measurement. This is why medical thermometer called the maximum.

To return the thermometer to the initial position for the purpose of further application and temperature measurement, it is necessary to shake the “thermometer”, recovering the mercury back into the reservoir.

Advantages of a Mercury Thermometer:

  • Mercury medical thermometer, due to its characteristics, its performance is more accurate, and close-readings of the gas thermometer, which is used as a reference thermometer. Therefore, the mercury thermometer other thermometers accurately measures the temperature of the human body.
  • In this case the mercury thermometer is less prone to influences of extraneous factors and the conditions of temperature measurement.
  • the design of the mercury “thermometer” allows its disinfection with full immersion in the disinfectant solution, therefore, ideal for healthcare and medical facilities.
  • compared with electronic thermometers, the usual “thermometer” is very attractive for its price to any purchaser (the cost of medical mercury thermometer is the amount of 25-50 rubles). But here we should note the following. Mercury thermometer is quite difficult to produce. Required mercury high quality and special cleaning. Requires special equipment for environmentally friendly production. Therefore, mercury thermometers produce less and email more. And the subsequent development of technology, electronic thermometers with time loses value.
  • Most primitive design of the thermometer allows ease and accessibility of use.

Disadvantages of a Mercury Thermometer:

  • it took a Long time to measure the body temperature. On average, the temperature measurement should continue for at least 5-6 minutes, and for the most accurate measuring is required a weight of 10 minutes.
  • But the main disadvantage of the mercury thermometer is mercury. It is the presence of mercury (about 2 grams) – hazardous substances for health and glass design “thermometer” that can be easily broken up, negates all the advantages of mercury thermometer compared with all the others.

Dangerous than a Broken Thermometer?

mercury in glass thermometerMercury is a liquid with silvery metallic luster, which begins to evaporate at the temperature of +18°C and above.

Mercury is a silvery-white metal. But the metal is unusual, in our traditional understanding. The melting point of mercury is very low for metals and equal -38,9 degrees Celsius.

Due to this specific property, in normal conditions, for example at room temperature, mercury is an easily mobile liquid, which in mild shock is divided into small balls, and when combining easily connected again in a solid ball.

Another property of mercury is that it starts to evaporate at the temperature of +18°C and above.

If the room or apartment broken mercury thermometer, the mercury after impact into many small droplets and is distributed throughout the room. The mercury can easily penetrate into the pile of carpets, in cracks of floors, in the gap between the baseboard and the floor. Then the mercury that is actively evaporating, pollutes and poisons all the air in the room.

If a person breathes this air constantly, over time the mercury begins to accumulate in the body, which in turn leads to chronic mercury intoxication, which may include a metallic taste in the mouth, headaches, diarrhea, kidney damage, stomatitis, salivation, anemia, dermatitis, tremor of the limbs.

How to use a Mercury Thermometer?

Before each measurement of body temperature, check the thermometer, examined it carefully. If the reading on a mercury column exceeds 35 C, you need to shake the thermometer.

Shake the thermometer is done as follows:

  • Take the upper part of the thermometer into a fist so that the head rested securely in the palm of your hand, the tank of mercury was looking down and the middle of the thermometer between your thumb and forefinger
  • Several times jerky movement at the elbow joint with the power to push your arm down, making the abrupt stop of the hand, so there was a real shaking “the thermometer”.
  • After measuring the temperature of mercury thermometer should be disinfected, while in no case do not put a mercury thermometer in hot water. From the effects of hot water it may lose its accuracy or even deteriorate or even crack.

What to do if you broke a thermometer?

Before the elimination of the consequences of broken mercury thermometer, you need to prepare:

  • a Glass jar with a tight fitting lid for preservation of the collected mercury.
  • Medical cotton wool, pieces of tape, a sheet of heavy paper, and rags.
  • Large plastic bags for disposing of things that may be contaminated with mercury.
  • Knitting needle or thick needle medical syringe.
  • Flashlight or lamp table with an extension cord for lighting.
  • Rubber gloves.
  • Chemicals having an oxidizing (bleaching or disinfecting) properties and contains compounds of chlorine (white, chlorinol, etc.). From first aid kits may be useful for the solution of potassium permanganate.

First stage of cleaning of mercury – decontamination.

What to do if you broke a thermometerDemercurization is collecting drops of mercury. This is the most important and time-consuming stage.

In any case, do not use a vacuum cleaner for cleaning dust. There are two main reasons.

First, the vacuum itself is dirty with particles of mercury, and use them in the future it will be impossible and dangerous.

Secondly, the filters of a vacuum cleaner won’t keep all mercury, and most of it has already led once again will be in the room and settles on all possible surfaces (from which it will be difficult to collect), and lots of it gets into your lungs.

  • Remove from the premises all unused cleaning people. Be sure to get out of the apartment children and Pets. The presence of children and animals in the infected premises dangerous to their health, and they can spread the mercury throughout the room or even swallow it.
  • Above all, make a thorough inspection of all items, surfaces, or objects, which could get drops of mercury. It is worth considering that the elastic balls of mercury very well ride on any surface and can be very small in size.
  • it is Better to use prepared in advance with a flashlight, for illumination of all corners, gaps, cracks in the floor, grooves and irregularities. Thanks to the metallic luster, the mercury easier to see in bright light.
  • All things are subject to mercury pollution should be collected and put into plastic bags and move to fresh air from contaminated areas.
  • When viewed from the horizontal surfaces and the floor, especially parquet or laminate, you can mark in advance with chalk or a pencil the places where they found particles of mercury. Don’t step on those contaminated sites that the mercury did not get to the shoes.
  • Collecting the mercury, you must start with the biggest drops that they have not broken into smaller droplets. For ease of cleaning of mercury, it is best to use a thick piece of paper, bent in half, or in the form of a scoop. For rolling drops of mercury on a sheet of paper, use a thick needle or a knitting needle.
  • Gently bringing the drops together, you can connect few small drops in the big one. Large drops carefully place in prepared glass jar.
  • To collect very small droplets of mercury, use a small piece of plaster or adhesive tape. Small droplets of mercury should be kept the sticky side of the patch. The patches stuck to it drops of mercury are also placed in a glass jar.
  • From the cracks in the floor, the floor or other objects the droplets of mercury can get a needle with a wound on it with a cotton swab. For efficiency, a swab should be impregnated with a solution of potassium permanganate. The tampon stuck to it with drops of mercury are also placed in a glass jar.
  • Of slots drops of mercury can be removed by using a medical syringe with a thick needle.
  • If you suspect that the particles of mercury trapped behind the baseboard, under the laminate or under the floorboards of flooring, they should be removed and carefully inspected.
  • Collect particles of mercury from a broken thermometer, it may take you a few hours. For security purposes, your health and the exclusion of mercury vapor poisoning, every 10-15 minutes you should take a break and go to fresh air.

Once you have collected all of the mercury needs to be treated very gently and carefully. Close jar with tight lid mercury, that mercury vapor is not left outside. In no case can not throw mercury in the trash, in the garbage disposal or the toilet. This will lead only to new, very hard-to-eliminate dirt. The jar with the collected mercury can be temporarily put on the balcony or in the garage, providing all the means for its integrity, and then pass to the representatives of the rescue service.

Second stage of cleaning mercury chemical decontamination.

To the stage of chemical demercurization should proceed only if all the visible droplets of mercury and is collected and removed from the premises all objects and things vulnerable to pollution.

For this you will need available home chemicals. The most affordable tool that you can find in any first aid kit is potassium permanganate. Depending on the surface to be treated, prepare a solution of potassium permanganate. For reliability it is better to prepare one liter.

  • To prepare the solution, pour in a jar of water and add a few crystals of potassium permanganate that would have turned almost opaque liquid of dark brown color. On the basis of the proportion of one liter of water, add and dissolve a tablespoon of salt and tablespoon of vinegar or a pinch of citric acid. The resulting solution was carefully and mix thoroughly, that would not have any particles.
  • Put on rubber gloves and begin treating the contaminated surface with the resulting solution. As surface treatment special attention should be paid to cracks, crevices and corners where they could remain particles of mercury. In such places even it is possible to pour a little solution for more reliable processing.
  • After applying the solution onto the surface, leave it for 7-8 hours. As the drying of the solution, it is necessary to periodically moisten the surface with clean water.
  • after a time, carefully washed the surface with the use of detergents and cleaning chemicals. After that you need to make a quality wet cleaning in the apartment.
  • To prevent elimination of the consequences of a broken thermometer are carried out daily wet cleaning of the apartment and frequent prolonged ventilation.
  • Usually a week of quality cleaning and airing, it is possible to completely get rid of the mercury particles in the apartment.

What to do after the elimination of the consequences:

  • After collecting the mercury, you must seek help from the police, to send them jars of mercury.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water, tea, coffee, juices), as mercury education are derived from the human body through the kidneys.
  • If you suspect that mercury is still present in your apartment, call the experts with gas-mercury analyzer. On the subject of measurements it is necessary to contact the district centers of hygiene and epidemiology.

What not to do:

  • you can’t throw a broken thermometer and mercury particles not in the trash or the garbage disposal. Two grams of mercury present in a thermometer is enough to contaminate six thousand cubic meters of ambient air.
  • you can’t release the mercury into the sewers. She settles in the sewers, and to remove mercury from sewage is almost impossible.
  • it is Impossible to collect the mercury with a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaner, pulling air mercury will vaporize the liquid metal, thereby contaminating the surrounding air. In this case, you have to throw away the vacuum cleaner, so as to be dangerous.
  • you Cannot sweep the particles of mercury with a broom. The hard twigs of the broom only crushed the poisonous bulbs of mercury in small mercury dust that will get into your lungs.
  • you can’t delete things, clothes and shoes that have come into contact with mercury, nor hands, nor using the washing machine. These things are better to throw.

Mercury Thermometers are dangerous

Mercury thermometers are dangerousFact that mercury thermometers are dangerous recognized in the EU and in several other countries. That is why the use of mercury thermometers in prohibiting medical and health care institutions. This prohibits the sale of measuring devices containing mercury, including thermometers and thermometers. This measure can significantly reduce the amount of toxic mercury released into the environment with household waste.

Digital thermometers – the best alternative to mercury thermometers. In the absence in their case of mercury and glass, they are absolutely safe to use for humans, including when measuring in the mouth. And the speed of measurement and the availability of memory distinguishes them from the old mercury thermometer.

Video: Mercury Thermometer – How to Use