Medical Thermometer

 
 

You can buy a medical thermometer from Wessex Medical.

 
 

Several different types are available.

 

In the event of very high temperatures or prolonged high temperature you should seek medical advice

Body temperature can be measured in various locations on the body which maintain a fairly stable temperature (mainly sub-lingual, axillary, rectal, vaginal, forehead, or temporal artery).

The normal temperature varies slightly with the location; an oral reading of 37 °C does not correspond to rectal, temporal, etc. readings of the same value. When a temperature is quoted the location should also be specified. If a temperature is stated without qualification (e.g., typical body temperature) it is usually assumed to be sub-lingual. Measurements are subject to both site-dependent clinical bias and variability between a series of measurements (standard deviations of the differences).

 

Oral

 

Oral temperature may only be taken from a patient who is capable of holding the thermometer securely under the tongue, which generally excludes small children or people who are unconscious or overcome by coughing, weakness, or vomiting. (This is less of a problem with fast-reacting digital thermometers, but is certainly an issue with mercury thermometers, which take several minutes to stabilise their reading.) If the patient has drunk a hot or cold liquid beforehand time must be allowed for the mouth temperature to return to its normal value.

The typical range of a sub-lingual thermometer for use in humans is from about 35°C to 42°C or 90°F to 110°F.

 

Armpit

 

The Armpit (axillary) temperature is measured by holding the thermometer tightly under the armpit. One needs to hold the thermometer for several minutes to get an accurate measurement.

 

Rectal

 

Rectal temperature-taking, especially if performed by a person other than the patient, should be facilitated with the use of a water-based personal lubricant. Although rectal temperature is the most accurate, this method may be considered unpleasant, or embarrassing in some countries or cultures, especially if used on patients older than young children; also, if not taken the correct way, rectal temperature-taking can be uncomfortable and in some cases painful for the patient. Rectal temperature-taking is considered the method of choice for infants.

 

Ear

 

Other kinds of medical thermometer exist, such as the tympanic thermometer that measures the temperature of the tympanum by infrared measurement, The thermometer has a projection (protected by a one-time hygienic sheath) which contains the infrared probe; the projection is gently placed in the ear canal and a button pressed; the temperature is read and displayed within about a second. These thermometers are used both in the home (models are available for prices starting at around £25) and in medical facilities.

 

Forehead

 

The band thermometer is applied to the patient’s brow. It is typically a band coated with different temperature-sensitive markings using plastic strip thermometer or similar technology; at a given temperature the markings (numerals indicating the temperature) in one region are at the right temperature to become visible. This type gives an indication of fever, but is not considered accurate.

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