Explained: How thermal screening is used to diagnose disease?
New Delhi, Jan 27: The Union Health Ministry said that over 29,700 passengers from 137 flights were screened till Sunday for novel coronavirus infection at seven identified airports in the country but no positive case was detected.
Over 100 people have been kept under observation in Kerala and Maharashtra following thermal screening for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus (nCov) amid mounting global concern over rising cases in China.
Thermal cameras have been installed at the pre-immigration area of the seven identified airports and airlines staff will bring the passengers to the health counters before the immigration check.
So what is thermal screening in medical science?
Infrared thermography (IRT), thermal imaging, and thermal video are examples of infrared imaging science.
When was it used first time?
Thermography has a long history and its use has increased dramatically with the commercial and industrial applications. It has been around since the 1950s when it first caught the interest of the medical community as a potential screening tool.
What is Thermography?
Thermography is a non-invasive, non-contact tool that uses the heat from your body to aid in making diagnosis of a host of health care conditions. Thermography is completely safe and uses no radiation.
Researchers around the world are employing infrared (IR) cameras to capture and record temperature variations on the skin for medical diagnostic purposes.
By analyzing the images, researchers glean information on metabolic and vascular activity to recognize abnormal changes in physiology.
Thermal imaging is also used to study a broad number of diseases where skin temperature can reflect the presence of inflammation in underlying tissues or where blood flow is increased or decreased due to a clinical irregularity.
It should be noted that Thermal images are normally grayscale in nature: black objects are cold, white objects are hot and the depth of grey indicates variations between the two. Some thermal cameras, however, add colour to images to help users identify objects at different temperatures.
Medical Thermography equipment usually has two parts, the IR camera and a standard PC or laptop computer. These systems have only a few controls and relatively easy to use.
How it is used?
Copies of images can easily be sent via e-mail, hard disk, etc for further reference of the doctors or other healthcare professionals. The doctor will then use the thermal imaging map to determine if abnormal hot or cold areas are present. These hot and cold areas can relate to a number of conditions.
It is also reported that since there have been a number of advancements in the past decade, which is why thermal imaging in medicine is back to the forefront of diagnosis.
Where medical Thermography has been recently applied?
Infrared Thermography was applied during the epidemic of Coronavirus at airports and is useful for monitoring asthma, allergies, bronchitis, influenza etc.
Possible side effects and risks
There is no radiation exposure and poses no real risks.