The right way to take your temperature Cleveland Clinic

Person taking child's temperature using ear thermometer.

Rising up, your father or mother might have kissed or positioned their hand in your brow to see when you had a fever. Whereas these gestures might have been endearing and heartwarming, they weren’t very exact or scientific. (Sorry, mother and pop.)

That is why a thermometer, whether or not a digital thermometer or an eardrum thermometer, has been the way in which to inform when you or your family members have a fever. Checking your physique temperature with a thermometer is an easy and correct method to see if a fever is current.

A fever, which is an increase in your physique temperature, is normally brought on by an an infection. Though fevers might be uncomfortable, they’re an indication that the physique is preventing an infection.

Internist Daniel Sullivan, MD, explains the best way to take a temperature, the totally different thermometer choices, and the best way to clear one.

Temperature ranges

So what ought to your temperature be?

A traditional physique temperature is round 98.6 levels Fahrenheit or 37 levels Celsius. A traditional temperature typically ranges from 1 to 2 F (0.5 to 1 C).

A traditional temperature is normally decrease within the morning and will increase through the day, says Dr. Sullivan. It reaches its most within the late afternoon or night.

In adults, a fever is taken into account a temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or greater.

You possibly can deal with this at residence with fever treatment and fluids to really feel extra comfy, or let it run its course, says Dr. Sullivan.

But when your fever reaches 102 F (38.8 C) or greater and residential remedy would not convey it down, it is time to name a well being care supplier.

For kids, a fever is when their temperature is over 100.4 F (measured rectally), 99.5 F (measured orally), or 99 F (measured underneath the arm). If their fever lasts greater than 5 days or is above 104 F (40 C), name their well being care supplier.

Sorts of thermometers

When utilizing any kind of thermometer, be sure you learn and observe the directions that include it.

In case your thermometer makes use of batteries, test them, advises Dr. Sullivan. It’s possible you’ll discover weak batteries giving inconsistent readings.

There are lots of kinds of thermometers you should use to measure temperature comparable to:

  • Digital thermometer. A digital thermometer is probably the most correct thermometer and the quickest method to take a temperature. Digital thermometers can be found at most pharmacies and grocery store pharmacies. Relying on the place you store, a digital thermometer can price wherever from $6 to $20. You should use a digital thermometer to take an oral temperature, an armpit temperature, and a rectal temperature.
  • Tympanic thermometer. One of these thermometer measures the temperature contained in the ear by studying infrared warmth from it. For older infants and kids, ear thermometers could also be faster and simpler to make use of. However they aren’t advisable in case your child is 3 months outdated or youthful. They shouldn’t be used in case your baby has an excessive amount of earwax or has ear ache.
  • Temporal artery thermometer. Brow thermometers are additionally used to measure your temple temperature, however will not be as dependable as digital thermometers and are usually dearer. They’re positioned on the temporal artery of the brow and measure the infrared warmth that emanates from the pinnacle.

Some thermometers are usually not advisable on account of their inaccuracy:

  • Plastic strip thermometers solely measure pores and skin temperature.
  • Pacifier thermometers are usually not correct and are tough to make use of accurately as a result of they’ve to remain in your kid’s mouth lengthy sufficient to register a temperature.
  • Smartphone app thermometers.
  • Mercury glass thermometers.

The principle cause mercury glass thermometers aren’t advisable is as a result of mercury can poison you, says Dr. Sullivan. This will occur when the glass breaks and mercury is launched. For those who nonetheless have one in every of these thermometers, it’s best to contact your native waste division and learn the way to correctly get rid of hazardous waste.

The right way to take a temperature

Wish to ensure you’re taking a temperature the best manner? Dr. Sullivan recommends the next:

Wash your palms and put together the thermometer

Earlier than utilizing a thermometer, it’s best to make certain to clean your palms with cleaning soap and heat water.

For those who’re utilizing a digital oral thermometer, make certain it has been cleaned with chilly water or rubbing alcohol, then rinsed with chilly water. A digital rectal thermometer must be cleaned with heat water and cleaning soap.

Place the thermometer

When utilizing a digital oral thermometer, you wish to place it underneath your tongue. Preserve your mouth closed and maintain the thermometer in place for about 40 seconds. Often the thermometer beeps when the ultimate studying is taken. In case you are monitoring, word the temperature and time.

Do not eat or drink something for a minimum of 5 minutes earlier than taking your temperature as a result of the temperature of meals or drink may trigger the studying to be inaccurate, notes Dr. Sullivan.

In case you are utilizing a digital rectal thermometer, put a small quantity of lubricant (petroleum jelly or petroleum jelly) on the sensor (tip) of the thermometer. Then place your baby face down in your lap or in your desk with one palm on their again. Or lay them face up with their legs bent towards their chest, and maintain the again of their thighs with one hand.

Utilizing your different hand, gently insert the thermometer into her anus till the tip is totally inside her rectum. Don’t power when you really feel resistance. Maintain the thermometer regular along with your hand till you hear the beep (about 30 seconds). Rigorously take away the thermometer and word the temperature and time.

Be sure you put a diaper or material underneath your baby, as they might poop instantly after eradicating the thermometer.

It’s also possible to use a digital thermometer to take an underarm temperature. For this methodology, the thermometer is positioned underneath the armpit of younger kids or adults whose temperature can’t be safely taken by mouth. This methodology will not be as correct as oral or rectal, however can be utilized as a fast first test. You possibly can observe this with an oral or rectal studying.

Clear the thermometer

As soon as you have completed taking your temperature, you might want to clear your thermometer once more.

Rinse your digital mouth thermometer with chilly water, clear it with alcohol and rinse once more. For a digital rectal thermometer, clear the thermometer completely with cleaning soap and water. It’s possible you’ll wish to clear it once more with alcohol after which rinse it once more.

When to name a physician

When you’ve got any questions on the best way to take a temperature, name your healthcare supplier. They can provide you recommendation on the most effective kind of thermometer for your loved ones and one of the best ways to test the temperature.

It is also a great time to ask issues like how typically it’s best to recheck temperatures or when you ought to do something to attempt to convey down a fever.

Name your healthcare supplier straight away if anybody in your family has a fever and any of the next:

  • Extreme complications.
  • Torticollis.
  • Swelling of the throat.
  • Confusion.
  • Any adjustments that fear you.

Do not forget that you and your healthcare supplier work collectively to maintain you and your loved ones members wholesome. They’re completely satisfied to reply questions on the most effective thermometers, how they need to be used, and the numbers which can be vital to trace.

Though a fever might be scary, it is also attempting to inform you one thing, says Dr. Sullivan. Your provider is your associate in understanding what’s being stated and the way to answer it.

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