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Q. I have an allergy to many metals except silver and gold. All sorts of things cause an irritation-imitation jewelry, buttons, metal pens, etc. I'm also allergic to the metal tip on a digital thermometer, so it gives me an irritation in my mouth. I know I can use a glass-mercury thermometer, but that takes longer. Any suggestions? -S.

R. During our fertile years, we used only the glass-mercury thermometer. Yes, it takes about five minutes, but you can use that time for prayer, listening to the news, going to the bathroom, or even getting dressed if you are careful. Such little activity never affected my temperature. So using a glass-thermometer would be a good alternative, but in the States it is getting hard to find a glass-mercury thermometer because of exaggerated environmental scares. Another suggestion would be to cover the thermometer with a thin plastic wrap. That might add a few seconds to the recording time, but so long as you wrap it the same way each day, it shouldn't affect the reliability of the temperature readings. -SK