Digital thermometers provide a quick way to read a temperature and are usually very simple to use. Digital thermometers can take a temperature either by being placed in the armpit (axillary) or in the mouth (orally). There are some digital thermometers that are also specifically designed to be placed in the rectum (rectally) for very young children or infants.
The Proper Way To Handle A Digital Thermometer
Sanitation is of vital importance when taking a temperature. Hands should be washed prior to handing a digital thermometer, which should also be disinfected both prior to and after it has been used. Separate thermometers should also be used for use in the armpit and mouth.
The temperature of a fever can vary slightly depending on which area is being measured, though a 100 degree Fahrenheit is usually a sure sign that a fever is present.
Oral Temperature Measurement
Use an alcohol swab with clean hands to ensure the digital thermometer is properly sanitized, and then switch it on. The tip of the digital thermometer should be placed under the tongue and then moved toward the rear of the mouth.
The mouth should then be closed and the lips kept together until the device gives a signal that measuring has been completed. The thermometer should then be removed and the temperature reading examined to determined whether or not you or the patient has a fever.
An alcohol swab should then be used to again disinfect the digital thermometer, after which it should be returned to a clean case and the user should thoroughly wash their hands.
Axillary Temperature Measurement
Wash hands and sanitize the digital thermometer with an alcohol swab as with oral temperature measurement, and then use a towel to gently wipe and clean the armpit. The digital thermometer can then be placed under the armpit, ensuring that only skin is touched by the device rather than clothing.
The arm should then be lowered down over the device, ensuring it is pressed into position and kept down until the thermometer signals that the process of measurement has concluded.
The thermometer can then be removed and the screen read to check the temperature. The digital thermometer should then be disinfected with an alcohol swab, and returned to a clean case.
Rectal Temperature Measurement
Make use of an alcohol swab with clean hands to ensure the digital thermometer has been sanitized, and then lubricate its tip with petroleum jelly and turn it on. Place your child or baby gently on his or her back, lifting up their thighs.
The thermometer should then be carefully inserted into the rectum by just a half to one inch. The thermometer should be held until a signal is given to indicate reading completion, after which it can be removed and read. The thermometer should then be disinfected and returned to a clean case, and hands again washed.
None of the measurement locations are better than any other, but it is very important that the correct steps are taken when using a digital thermometer to ensure the reading you receive is an accurate one.