The subject of thermometers came up in a discussion with a younger friend and I soon realized that most people today depend on digital or throw away thermometers. When we were kids and our parents had to deal with all the infectious diseases, it seemed like we were always having our temperatures taken. The old mercury thermometer that we used when we were young, have been banned for medical use in most states. It is now almost impossible to buy them.
There are liquid filled thermometers still available, but there are not the most common. I know how dangerous mercury thermometers are supposed to be, but they are still my thermometer of choice. They are the most accurate, and as long as the glass is not broken, the mercury is not a danger. Just be careful when you shake them to lower the column of mercury.
If you are using a manual or mercury thermometer, you must shake it down so that the mercury level is at least below 96 degrees F.
Temperatures can be taken by several different methods.
Oral – Place the thermometer under the tongue ; wait for approximately 2 minutes for a manual thermometer. Remember not to take an oral temperature right after eating or drinking something because it will alter the results.
Axillary – Place the thermometer under the armpit with the tip in the deepest crease; wait for approximately 2 minutes for a manual thermometer.
Rectal – Use lubrication, such as petroleum jelly and place tip in anal opening; Wait for approximately 2 minutes for a manual thermometer. This method should be used for infants or those whose temperature cannot be taken any other way.
What is normal body temperature?
Most people think of a “normal” oral body temperature as 98.6 F (37 C). This is an average. Your temperature may actually be 1 F (0.6 C) or more above or below 98.6 F.
A rectal or ear (tympanic membrane) temperature reading is slightly higher than an oral temperature reading. A temperature taken in the armpit (Axillary) is slightly lower than an oral temperature reading. The most accurate way to measure body temperature is to take a rectal temperature.
A simple fever thermometer can be a big help in treating infectious diseases, make sure you have a manual one in your medical supplies.