2.1. Body Temperature Measurement

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“Honey, I did told you not to go fishing this weekend. right?”


Although normal temperature of the human body changes during the day, it remains under the strict control of the thermoregulatory centre. If functioning properly, the human body is able to maintain a relatively constant temperature as the thermoregulation centre balances heat generation (derived from the metabolic activity of muscles and the liver) while ridding the body of the heat (through the skin and lungs).

Various types of thermometers are used to measure body temperature: non-contact, mercury or electronic ones.

The measurement of body temperature can be performed in the:

   oral cavity
The temperature measurement time depends on the type of a thermometer. A mercury thermometer requires the longest time to measure the temperature, shorter –an electronic one, the quickest–a non-contact one. The correct temperature values will vary depending on the measurement location on the body. Discrepancies between the results may amount to more than 1 degree in extreme cases.

Measurement of temperature under the armpit

The thermometer should be placed under the armpit. The tip of the thermometer should be tightly and directly pressed against the skin of the armpit. The thermometer must be held tight by the arm throughout the entire duration of the measurement.

The correct under armpit temperature is 35,5-37°C.

Measurement of the temperature in the mouth

Before the measurement, the thermometer should be disinfected with salicylic spirit or potable alcohol and rinsed with water. We put the tip deep under the tongue and measure the temperature with the mouth closed, making sure the thermometer is not bit. The temperature measured in the mouth can range from 36,1 to 37,5°C.

Measurement of the temperature in the rectum

Before the measurement, apply a certain amount of water-based gel to the tip of the thermometer. Gently insert it into the rectum, at most to half of the length.

The correct temperature is 37,6°C.

Measurement of the temperature in the ear

Infrared in-ear thermometers measure the temperature of the eardrum within seconds. Attach a disposable cap to the thermometer. Then turn it on, and when the readiness for the measurement is signalled, gently slide it into your ear. Although the measurement takes only a second, it is very accurate.

The correct temperature is 37,6°C.

Measurement of the temperature on the forehead

The body temperature on the forehead is measured with a non-contact thermometer. Keep the thermometer in a perpendicular position to the centre of the forehead and try moving it back and forth until a single spot of light is visible on the forehead. When a single spot of light appears on a person’s forehead, it means that the thermometer is at the right distance to read the exact body temperature.

The correct temperature on the forehead is 37,4°C.

If the thermometer is too far from the forehead, then two blurred spots of light will be visible. If the thermometer is kept too close, two separated dots of light will be visible. Release the button and hold the device firmly until the lights flash. Read the measurement value from the display. If necessary, another measurement can be repeated at once. After about 20 seconds, the thermometer turns off.

  Common temperature measurement errors:

Maintaining an inappropriate distance between the thermometer and the forehead. To correctly measure the temperature with a non-contact electronic thermometer, it is necessary to hold it at most 5 centimetres from the forehead. Bigger distance may cause the device to measure the ambient temperature instead.

The value considered normal varies depending on the place of measurement. It is best to measure the temperature in the same body area.

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