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How will you record the body temperature ?

You should always measure the body temperature as a part of initial clinical examination.

What are the preferred sites of recording of temperature?
  • Oral cavity
  •  Axilla
  •  Rectal temperature
How to record the oral temperature?
1.Oral temperature is recorded by placing the clinical thermometer under the patients tongue the patient breathes through the nose with lips firmly closed for a period of one minute. This will reflects the body-core temperature.

Precautions while recording temperature
  • Prior to measurement the patient should not take any oral feeds for 15 minutes, 
  • You should wash the thermometer with antiseptic solution before taking the reeding
  • Before taking the measurement mercury in the thermometer is gently shaken down
2.Axillary temperature is taken by placing the thermometer in the arm pit and measuring the temperature after 2 minutes the temperature is 0.5 to 1 F less than the oral temperature
3.Rectal temperature- This is the most reliable as well as accurate, and it is 0.5-1F higher than the oral temperature
The rectal temperature is recorded using  a special low-reading’ thermometer. It is stouter than the
usual clinical thermometer, this has  a rounded bulb (to reduce the risk of injury') and is graduated upto 90°F.
Thermometer  should be  kept at least for 2 minutes in the axilla or rectum and the rectal temperature >oral temperature>axillary temperature.

What are the alteration in body temperature?

                                     Degree Celsius             Degree Farenheit
• Normal temperature              36.6-37.2                       98-99
• Febrile                                    > 37.2                           >99       
• Hyperpyrexia                         > 41.6                           > 107
• Subnormal                             < 36.6                            < 98  
• Hypothermia                          < 35                              <95                                                                                                                                                                           

Which is the preferred site for temperature recording in infants ?
The  axilla or groin with thigh flexed over the abdomen .this is also convenient in an unconscious patient.

Which is the preferred  site for recording of temperature in adults ?
Oral temperature is the preferred site in adults .If the oral temperature is more than 99 degree F the patient is febrile
The patienl is febrile, when the axillary temperature is above 98.6 degree F or 37 degree celsius
Oral temperature is preferred because it does not change with sweating or vasoconstriction as the axillary temperature may vary.

What are the contraindications of taking oral temperature ?
  • Infants and children.
  • Mentally retarded. eg. Down's syndrome.
  • During convulsions or history of recurrent fits.
  • After taking tea. coffee or chewing tobacco : smoking.
  • Inflammation within the oral cavity, eg. ulcer in the'mouth, impacted wisdom teeth
  • During severe dyspnoea.
  • Unconscious or restless patients.
  • Trismus (tetanus, tetany).
  • Paralysis of the tongue.
  •  In mouth breathers.
When the rectal temperature is preferred ?
  • In collapsed, comatosed or elderly patients.
  • Cholera patients (surface temperature is subnormal but rectal temperature is raised)
  • In algid malaria.
Why there is a kink in thermometer ?
This is to prevent the return of mercury column when the thermometer is taken out of the body.