Using the Various Thermometers
1.Use a digital thermometer orally. The mouth (oral cavity) is considered to be a reliable representation for body temperature when the thermometer is placed far back under the tongue.As such, take the digital thermometer out of its holder and turn it on; slide the metal tip into a new disposable plastic cover (if one is available); carefully place it as far back under the tongue as possible; then close your lips gently around the thermometer until it beeps and gives a reading. It may take a few minutes, so breath through your nose while waiting.
If you do not have a disposable cover, clean the end of the probe with soap and warm water (or rubbing alcohol), then rinse it with cool water.
Wait for 20-30 minutes after smoking, eating or drinking hot/cold liquids before taking oral readings.
Core temperatures of people average about 98.6 °F or 37 °C (although it varies due to many factors), but oral temperatures taken with a digital thermometer tend to be slightly lower with an average reading of 98.2 °F or 36.8 °C.
2.Use a digital thermometer rectally. A rectal reading is usually reserved for toddlers and newborns, although it is also very accurate for adults, albeit maybe somewhat uncomfortable. Before inserting a digital thermometer into the anus, make sure to lubricate it with some water-soluble or petroleum-based jelly first. Lubrication is typically placed over the probe cover — it allows for easier insertion and increased comfort. Spread the buttocks (it's easier if the patient is lying on their stomach) and insert the tip of the thermometer no more than 1/2 an inch into the rectum. Never force it if resistance is encountered. Be prepared to wait a minute or more for the thermometer to beep, then slowly remove it.
Be especially thorough while cleaning your hands and thermometer after taking a rectal reading because E. coli bacteria from fecal material can cause serious infections.
For rectal measurements, consider buying a digital thermometer with a fairly flexible tip on the end because it will provide more comfort.
Rectal measurements from digital thermometers can be as much as one degree higher than oral and axillary (armpit) readings.
3.Use a digital thermometer under the arms. The underarm or axillary area is another place to measure body temperature, although it's not considered as accurate as the mouth, rectum, or ear (tympanic membrane). After putting a probe cover on the tip of the digital thermometer, make sure the armpit is dry before you insert it. Place the probe into the middle of the armpit (pointing upwards toward the head) and then make sure the arm is close to the body so the body heat is trapped. Wait at least a few minutes or until the thermometer beeps with a reading.
Wait at least one hour after heavy exercise or a hot bath before taking body temperature from the axilla or anywhere else.
For better accuracy, take readings from both armpits and then average the two temperatures together.
Axillary measurements with a digital thermometer tend to be lower than other areas, with an average normal temperature being around 97.7 °F (36.5 °C).
4.Use a tympanic thermometer. A tympanic thermometer is shaped differently from normal digital thermometers because it is specifically designed to fit into the ear canal. Tympanic thermometers sense reflected infrared (heat) emissions from the tympanic membrane (eardrum). Before sticking the thermometer into the ear canal, make sure it's free of wax and dry. Wax buildup and other debris in the ear canal reduces the accuracy of readings. After turning the ear thermometer on and placing a sterile cover on the tip, hold the head still and pull back on the top part of the ear to straighten out the canal and make it easier for insertion. There's no need to touch the eardrum with the tip because the thermometer is designed to take a remote reading. After creating a seal around the thermometer by pressing it against the canal, wait for it to take a reading and beep.
The safest and most effective way to clean ears is by using a few drops of warm olive oil, almond oil, mineral oil or special ear drops to soften the earwax, then rinse it all out (irrigate it) with some squirts of water from a little rubber device made for ear cleaning. Cleaning the ear is easiest if performed after a shower or bath.
Do not use an ear thermometer on an ear that is infected, injured, or recovering from surgery.
An advantage of using an ear thermometer is that, when positioned properly, they are quick and fairly accurate.
Ear thermometers tend to be more expensive than regular digital thermometers, but their cost has come down substantially over the last decade.
5.Use a plastic strip thermometer. Strip-type thermometers are held against the forehead and are relatively popular for taking children's temperature, but they are quite variable in their accuracy. These thermometers use liquid crystals that react to heat by changing color to show the temperature of the skin, but not inside the body. Strip-type thermometers are usually stuck to the skin of the forehead (horizontally) for at least a minute before they are read. Before applying them, make sure the forehead is not sweating from physical activity or badly sunburned — both situations will affect the reading.
It's difficult to get readings in the 1/10 of degrees because the liquid crystals tend to show a range of temperature when they change color.
For more accuracy, place the strip closer to the temple region of the head (over the pulsating temporal artery near the hairline). The blood in the temporal better reflects the internal core temperature.