Managing fever in Children at home is one of the essential things that every parent has to learn. Measuring the body temperature is a crucial step of fever management.
Types of Thermometers
Glass Thermometer was the most commonly and widely used thermometer until very recently. It is made of a glass tube with markings and having a column through which the mercury rises to denote the measurement. The metal base should be the point of contact with the body. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends to discontinue the use of glass thermometers because of the danger of glass breakage and considering the fact that mercury is a poison and there are chances of inhalation, ingestion and vaporisation of mercury.
Digital Thermometers are quickly gaining the popularity around the world because of it’s ease of use and the accuracy in temperature measurement. They use heat sensors to determine the body temperature. The temperature can be easily read in a well displayed panel. It can be used to measure the mouth, armpit and even the rectal temperature. There is no fear of breakage and mercury spillage while using a digital thermometer and that is why I recommend it highly. If you are planning to use the thermometer both orally and rectally, it would be better to buy two thermometers and label them separately.
How to use the Thermometer?
Most people think that thermometers are meant to be kept only in the mouth to measure temperature. However, both glass and digital thermometers can be used in the mouth, armpit and even rectally (anal canal).
Always remember to wash the thermometer before and after it’s use with cold soap water or with alcohol.
Mouth : It is the preferred site for measurement in older children and adults. After keeping the probe under the tongue, Instruct the person to close the mouth and hold the thermometer with the lips. Clearly instruct the person to breath through the nose and not to use teeth to hold the probe instead. Keep it in place for 2 minutes or until you hear a beep in case of a digital thermometer.
Armpit : Clean the armpit first with a dry cloth, and place the thermometer in the armpit with the arm pressed against the body. This is preferred in young children and in adults and the advantage is that it can be used to measure the temperature without the patient’s knowledge. Place the probe for 5 minutes before reading the value.
Rectum : It is preferred for infants and small children. It is recommended not to use this method to measure the temperature of your children at home especially when you have any discomfort in using this method. Rectal temperature is considered more accurate by many paediatricians. The child is placed face down on the bed or held on the lap and the probe is inserted about an inch into the child’s anal canal carefully after separating the buttocks. It is held in place for 3 minutes or until a beep is heard before removing.
What to do After Recording the Temperature?
The very first thing to do is to clean the thermometer before storing it away from the reach of children.
The normal body temperature is 98.6° Fahrenheit or 37° Celsius. Temperature recorded 1.5° more than the normal range should not be treated at home. Consult a doctor for further examinations.
So, have you made the decision yet? Which type of thermometer are you planning to buy? Let me know if you have any more doubts.
If you liked this article, please subscribe to our free newsletters by submitting the form at the top of this page.
Latest posts by Dr Prasoon (see all)
- Handling Government Fund as the Medical Officer - February 17, 2018
- 99 DOTS, TB Control in India takes new road - February 10, 2018
- National De-Worming Day in India, February 8, 2018 - February 3, 2018