Temperature readings are an essential part of primary care for illnesses. An accurate temperature reading is pretty helpful in drawing out the best steps to fight off illnesses at home.
Why are temperature readings important?
When you or anyone from your family feels run down by an illness, a temperature reading is an efficient way to determine the presence of a fever. Then, depending on the temperature reading, you can safely decide between self-treatment or doctor’s care.
Which is best to use: Digital thermometer or Glass thermometer?
A digital thermometer is safer than the traditional glass mercury thermometer and provides quick & accurate temperature readings. On the other hand, the health risks involved in using glass mercury thermometers are a constant cause of anxiety in the back of our heads.
So, if you’re still using a glass mercury thermometer, it’s best to replace it with a far better digital thermometer.
How to use a digital thermometer to take your temperature?
To get accurate temperature readings, you have to use the following different methods since age and illness necessitate them.
For an accurate temperature reading, place the digital thermometer under your tongue and close your mouth. The oral method to take a temperature reading is commonly used for adults and children aged 4 years or more (if they can hold the thermometer in their mouth long enough)
Things to take care of while taking your temperature:
- Wash your hands
- Always use a clean thermometer
- Take temperature at least 5 minutes before you eat or drink anything
- Hold the thermometer still for about 40 seconds
Take out the thermometer once the beep sounds off, and you’ll have your temperature reading. Now, make sure that you clean the thermometer with cold water and alcohol after each use.
The rectal method is used to take temperature readings of children aged 3 years or younger. And it requires a digital rectal thermometer — one with a stubby tip. Keep your baby still, and implement the following cares to take a rectal temperature:
- Wash the rectal thermometer clean with soap and warm water
- Apply lubricant on the thermometer tip
- Carefully hold your baby still, belly down
- Keep a diaper underneath as removal of thermometer may make them poop
- Gently insert the thermometer tip into the rectum
- Hold it still till the beep (about 30 seconds)
- Record temperature, and clean the thermometer with soap, water, then alcohol
It’s an alternative used when circumstances don’t permit oral or rectal temperature readings — for both children and adults. For an axillary temperature reading, the digital thermometer (same as oral) is placed under the armpit. Now, while taking an axillary temperature reading of your child, take the following cares:
- Remove top clothing
- Dry their armpit
- Fold their hand across the chest to hold the thermometer under the armpit
- Wait for the beep (which may take over 30 seconds)
- Record temperature, and put back the thermometer, once cleaned with water, soap and alcohol
Other Digital Thermometers
A tympanic thermometer takes temperature from inside the ear canal from the infrared heat there. Typically, its temperature readings are 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) higher than oral temperature readings.
Tympanic thermometers are not ideal for:
- Infants below 6 months of age
- Small & curved ear canals
- Ears with excessive wax
Non-contact infrared thermometers are included in this category. A forehead thermometer uses infrared sensors to take the temperature of the temporal artery on the forehead. The temperature reading is generally 1°F (0.6°C) cooler than oral temperature, but it’s instant — if that’s suitable for you, then you can quickly get an infrared thermometer online.
A forehead thermometer is safe for infants, children and adults alike.
Now, the current urgency for accuracy and health safety in temperature readings is matched adequately by digital thermometers only. So, if you’re on your way to equipping yourself with better personal healthcare products, then it’s a good time to switch to digital thermometers if you haven’t already.