Measuring fever – what should be considered?

Measuring fever - what should be considered

Fever usually supports the work of the immune system in the fight against pathogens. The increased heat sets metabolic processes in motion that can help to ward off disease. That is why fever occurs with almost all infections and inflammations. But how can you measure fever correctly? Where should you take a fever, and what types of clinical thermometers are there? You can find out here.

Measure fever correctly

Slightly elevated temperatures for one or two days are generally considered harmless. However, if the temperature rises to over 39 degrees Celsius or does not drop after two days, you should see a doctor – especially if there are other symptoms. However, the prerequisite is that other diseases do not already weaken the body.

Measuring the fever regularly is essential to correctly assess the course of the disease. But which method and which device are suitable? In the following, we will introduce you to various methods of measuring fever.

 

Measurement methods at a glance

Here, you will find various methods and devices for measuring fever. When choosing, it is essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages:

  • Electronic clinical thermometers are easy to scan and measure and are not expensive, but they require a battery.
  • Glass thermometers also offer a good alternative in the digital age regarding their measurement accuracy. Today, there are glass thermometers with a non-toxic metal mixture. Such measuring liquids are mixed from gallium, indium and tin and work just as precisely as the poisonous mercury used in clinical thermometers. The disadvantage: Although glass thermometers are particularly hygienic and easy to clean, they are manageable.
  • Ear thermometers measure the temperature via the infrared radiation emitted in the ear canal. The radiation represents the temperature inside the body reasonably accurately. The devices are high-speed, with measurement times in the lower seconds range. The prerequisite for this, however, is that the probe tip is placed precisely, which works best if the auditory canal is stretched by gently pulling on the ear.
  • Sensor thermometers (e.g. forehead thermometers)  determine the temperature relatively quickly and hygienically when rolling over the skin’s surface. Forehead and temple areas are considered good measuring locations for infrared measurement, but the data is only sometimes reliable, as measurement errors can occur comparatively quickly.
  • The pacifier thermometers are convenient for children up to the age of twoHowever, like forehead and patch thermometers, soother thermometers could be more accurate and are therefore not recommended. However, the measured values ​​offer a decision-making aid for the parents regarding whether a doctor’s visit is indicated.

Where should one take a fever?

Parents of children, particularly adults, often ask themselves where it is best to measure fever: in the mouth, under the armpit or rectally? What you should know:

  • Since the most meaningful fever temperature can, in principle, only be measured inside the body – corresponding to the so-called core temperature – the rectal fever measurement is considered the most accurate method. It can also be used with children and restless patients if they are not left alone during the measurement. The temperatures measured rectally are about 0.4 degrees Celsius higher than those in the mouth or under the armpit.
  • The sublingual measurement  (under the tongue ) is also standard. The thermometer is placed as far back in the mouth as possible under the left or right side of the tongue. The mouth should be closed, and no cold or warm drinks or food should have been taken beforehand. The method is unsuitable for blocked noses and coughing, confused people, and small children as they bite around on the thermometer.
  • The temperature measurement in the armpit requires a long measurement of up to eight minutes. This also applies to determining the temperature in the groin.

 

Fever measurement: what to consider?

During the day, the body temperature fluctuates due to different metabolic activities. It is lowest in the early morning hours and highest in the late afternoon and early evening. In women, the body temperature increases by half degrees Celsius one to two days after ovulation.

All of these factors should be considered regarding fever measurement, as the transitions between the individual fever ranges are increments of tenths a degree. For example, a measured value of 39.0 degrees is still considered a moderate fever, and 39.1 is a high one. This shows that temperature profiles are more important than individual measured values.

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