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I can’t take my child’s temperature accurately! Any other ways?

 Both children and adults alike may get ill at certain times of the year, or get the fever and list of possibilities of diseases can go on and on.

In these times, we need to measure the body temperature accurately in order to take a step in the direction of the right treatment. We should also try to bring the temperature down in order to prevent any complications such as seizures or other side effects.

There are many ways to take the body temperature of children and adults. Digital thermometers are one of those ways. They work through electronic sensors that detect and register the body temperature.

There are several way to measure the human body temperature:

Through the rectum:

This method is one the most accurate methods. The percentage of a wrong reading is very low with this one. It is particularly used for babies who are 3 months old old or less, until the age of 3 and this is one of its advantages.

The only disadvantages this thermometer has is that parents don't feel comfortable putting it through the rectum.

Through he mouth:

This thermometer is put in between the cheeks or under the tongue, and in either position will give us a reading that is 0.3 to 0.8 degrees Celsius less than the rectum method.

It is important to note that putting the thermometer under the tongue gives a more accurate reading than putting it in between the cheeks.

.This method is more common among children above 3 years old and adults 

The disadvantage of using this method is that you have to wait for 30 minutes after eating or drinking in order to get an accurate reading. Moreover, patients with nasal congestion may find it difficult to close their mouths long enough to take the temperature. 

Under the armpits: 

This method is less accurate than the mouth and rectum methods. In this method, you get a reading that is 0.5 to 1.5 degrees celsius less than the rectum.

A disadvantage of this method is that it has no disadvantages except for the accuracy!

Through the ear:

In this method, the temperature of the ear drum is taken in only one minute. This method is usually used for clinical purposes, however it is extremely accurate and has a very little likability for wrong readings. Additionally, it is a fast method that suits babies above 6 months old as well as adolescents and adults.

It is, however, not suitable for newborn babies because it is difficult to get an accurate reading through their ear wax or their small and curvy ear canals.

The pacifier:

In this method, a thermometer is put inside your baby's pacifier in order for your child not to realize that his temperature is being taken. Your baby will keep sucking his pacifier until the thermometer registers the maximum temperature.

One of the disadvantages of this method is that it is not suitable for newborn babies because babies have to have the pacifier in their mouths for 3-5 minutes until the accurate temperature is registered which makes it a difficult task for the newborns especially those who have a nasal congestion. 

FYI:

  • The normal human body temperature is 36.2 to 37.7
  • our body temperature differs throughout the day. It tends to be very low in the early morning and before we get up. Then it goes up gradually throughout the day and according to the type of activity the person is doing. 
  • If you have doubts about the reading of your thermometer when the temperature is taken through the mouth, try taking it through the rectum but make sure to use another thermometer. 
Dina Sabbah
Pharmacist, Al Azhar University of Gaza graduate. Interested in health awareness .