Medical tests and devices

The role of medical devices and tests is essential in care and welfare, as the purpose of their use is diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment, or alleviation of a disease, injury, or disability. The diversity and innovativeness of these products available at pharmahouses considerably contribute to safety, quality, and efficiency of the healthcare sector. Their number and complexity are rapidly increasing. Medical devices and tests can be used on their own or in combination with other medical products to be effective and solve medical problems. They can come in the form of apparatus, appliances, software and different materials. They cover a very broad range of products, some of which include medical thermometers, blood glucose meters, blood type test strips, drug testing strips, and pregnancy tests.

Medical thermometers

Medical thermometers are devices used to measure people’s temperature. The temperature can be measured in different locations of the body which maintain relatively stable temperature. Oral thermometers give results when their tip is inserted into the mouth, while the axillary and rectal ones show the temperature when placed under the armpit or into the rectum through the anus. There are also ear thermometers that read the infrared heat coming from the ear’s canal and forehead thermometers that are applied to the temporal artery of the forehead. The types that can be found at pharmahouses include digital thermometers, electronic ear thermometers, forehead thermometers, pacifier thermometers, plastic “fever” strip thermometers, and mercury-in-glass thermometers. The digital ones are considered to be the fastest and to provide most accurate results. Electronic ear thermometers are easier and quicker to use for older babies and children, but they are also more expensive. Forehead, pacifier, and plastic “fever” strip thermometers also work fast, but their accuracy is not guaranteed. Mercury-in-glass thermometers have been realized to create risk of exposure to mercury, so people should be more careful when using them.

Blood glucose meters and strips

Blood glucose meters are small, computerized devices regularly used by people with diabetes to measure the amount of their glucose levels. In other words, these devices provide diabetics and their doctors with vital information about how different factors such as a diet, exercising, medicines, and stress might affect the blood glucose levels of the former. Being constantly aware of their condition helps patients to develop an effective treatment plan. There are a number of blood glucose meters on the market, many of which are available for at-home use. Different models range from basic to advanced types and vary according to their size and handling, their performance in low or high temperatures, the required size of the blood drops, and display lighting. The advanced models usually offer some extra features including audio capability for people with vision problems, wireless functionality, downable results, capabilities for storage of test results, or expanded testing function (measuring not only glucose levels, but also blood pressure and blood ketones). Furthermore, glucose test strips are often an important part of glucose meters, as the blood the device provides a reading for is placed on the strip. The cost of blood glucose meters and testing supplies depends on the models and may not always be covered by the health insurance. It is important to take into consideration all these details when purchasing a device and also think of all the long-term costs of testing strips and other supplies. Once patients have obtained their meter, they should work with their doctor to learn how to use it properly.


Blood type test strips

There is a cheap and an easy way in the form of a test approved to determine patients’ blood type with almost perfect accuracy in just a few minutes. These tests are very important, as if someone happens to be transfused with a wrong blood type, there might be fatal consequences. If the antibodies in blood detect antigens from foreign red blood cells, that could trigger a destructive immune response. Fortunately, the quick method, revealing whether a person’s blood type is A, B, AB, or O, “positive” or “negative”, allows medical specialists in hospitals to rapidly take actions in an emergency. There are two steps involved in the blood typing process – forward typing and reverse typing. The test relies on the antibodies found in type A and type B blood. In forward typing the antibodies are added to a blood sample that is shaken up to check reactivity. In reverse typing the serum (the blood that does not contain any cells) is mixed with the blood type that has already been identified in the first test. This is how a patient’s blood type is verified. The newest version of this blood type test works faster, as it includes a filter that separates the blood needed for forward typing from the plasma needed for reverse typing. Each test strip contains antibodies that can recognize the antigens typical for different blood types. Green dye turns the test windows on the strip in a different color depending on the specific blood type.

Drug testing strips

Drug tests now are not only performed in treatment centers and hospitals, but they are also available for home use. Drug testing strips can detect the presence of a variety of illegal drugs in a person’s body, including cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, opiates, hallucinogenic drugs, and marijuana. Some types are designated to test for prescription medications such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines, oxycodone, tricyclic antidepressants, and methadone. Drug tests are a good way to protect public safety as well as take the necessary measures and assist an intoxicated person. With home drug tests, it is easy for people afraid that their children or other family members have drugs in their system to find out if their concerns are justified. Besides, they help avoid embarrassment of using the services of a public drug testing facility. Different drug tests look for different kinds of substances, so it is important to carefully read the description before buying. Each home kit has strict instructions that should be followed. Urine testing is the most common type of substance abuse testing, but there are also tests that use a hair sample. The results of most tests can be seen in no more than a few minutes. In the case of drug testing with a hair, which takes a bit longer, the sample is collected at home and sent to a laboratory for analysis. There are not any physical risks, but a positive result might affect other aspects of the individual’s life.

Pregnancy tests

Pregnancy tests are an easy and convenient way for women experiencing the symptoms of pregnancy to find out if they are really pregnant. They are quite affordable and available at every pharmahouse. When used correctly, home pregnancy tests are as accurate as the tests performed by a doctor during an examination. Pregnancy tests work by detecting the presence of a hormone, known as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). HCG is produced by the body shortly after the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining of the woman’s uterus. Pregnancy tests are recommended to use on the first day of the missed period. Some very sensitive tests can give results even earlier, but not all of them are reliable.

There are two types of pregnancy tests: urine tests and blood tests.

Urine pregnancy tests

Urine pregnancy tests can be performed in two ways: at home or in a clinic. Women should either collect their urine in a cup or a container and dip the stick into it or place the stick into their urine flow. It normally takes a few minutes to receive the result. Tests might change their color, and depending on the test, lines or a symbol will appear. A pregnancy test might not be accurate if it is expired or if not used properly, so it is important to check the expiration date and carefully follow the directions.

Blood pregnancy tests

Blood pregnancy tests are quantitative and qualitive. Quantitative tests measure the exact amount of HCG in the blood, while the qualitive ones answer with a simple yes or no to whether a woman is pregnant or not. The advantage of blood tests is that they can detect pregnancy earlier than urine tests at approximately 7-12 days after the conception. However, they are more expensive, take longer and must be done in a clinic or a laboratory


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