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What are some standard medical symbols?

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Quick Answer

Emerge Groups’s guide to symbols commonly used in medical device packaging and labeling notes a number of symbols used to warn of hazards and other important circumstances. For example, an hourglass symbol found next to a product's expiration date indicates that product's use-by date. Paradigm Publishing’s guide to medical symbols also notes many other symbols used in medical transcription, like the "Rx" prescription symbol.

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Full Answer

Emerge Groups’s guide to symbols commonly used in medical device packaging and labeling notes that a vertical line topped with a dot (similar to a lowercase letter “i”) surrounded by curved lines indicates the presence of nonionizing radiation. The number “2” inside a circle bisected by a diagonal line from top-left to bottom-right stands for “Do Not Reuse.” A thermometer bisected from bottom-left to top-right by a diagonal line indicates a product with temperature limitations; the upper and lower bounds of the limit are printed on either side of the symbol.

A medical symbols chart in a Paradigm Publishing textbook on medical transcription notes that the symbol for a prescription is a capital letter “R” fused with a lowercase “x.” An inverted “V” indicates diastolic blood pressure, while an upright “V” indicates systolic blood pressure. A capital letter “L” or “R" enclosed by a circle is the symbol for “left” or “right,” respectively. Medicine also uses common mathematics symbols, like the Greek uppercase letter delta, which indicates change, and the curved equals sign, which indicates approximate equality.

According to LiveScience Health, two snakes wrapped around a winged staff often symbolizes the medical profession as a whole.

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