How to Take Your Temperature

Taking your temperature is a reliable and simple way to see if a fever is present, and there are a few different possible methods to do it. So 5-Minute Crafts gathered and explained 4 different ways to determine your body’s temperature with a thermometer.

❗ The information in this article is general. It’s highly recommended that you consult a healthcare professional if you’re not feeling well.

Types of thermometers

There are several different types of thermometers:

  • Digital thermometers are available in most places and are the most accurate and fast way to take a temperature.
  • Ear (or tympanic) thermometers measure the temperature inside the ear by reading the infrared heat.
  • Temporal artery (forehead) thermometers also measure the infrared heat, and they’re placed on the temporal artery of the forehead.

⛔ Old mercury glass thermometers are not recommended anymore, as they can break and release poisonous mercury.

Before taking your temperature

Before proceeding, it’s best to keep a few things in mind.

  • Your body’s normal temperature is 98.6°F (37°C), but it often varies from 1°F to 2°F (½°C to 1°C). It’s also normal for your temperature to be lower in the morning and to increase as the day goes by.
  • A fever is considered to be a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher in adults.
  • If your temperature reaches 102°F (38.8°C) or above, contact healthcare professionals.
  • Your body temperature can vary with physical activity, like exercise, hot or cold liquids, and warm showers or baths. It’s recommended to wait at least 15 minutes after to take a temperature.

Method 1: oral

  1. Grab your digital thermometer and clean its tip with cold water and soap.
  2. Turn the thermometer on and place the tip under your tongue.
  3. Close your lips around the thermometer.
  4. Hold it there until it beeps or flashes.
  5. Remove the thermometer and check the temperature on the display.

Method 2: ear

  1. Pull the top of your earlobe up and back.
  2. Gently insert the tip of the tympanic thermometer into the ear canal, and make sure it’s pointing toward the eardrum. The sensor should be pointing down the ear canal and not at the wall of the ear.
  3. Turn the device on and hold it there until you hear a beep.
  4. Remove the thermometer and check the temperature.

Method 3: forehead

  1. Place the temporal artery thermometer sensor at the center of your forehead.
  2. While maintaining contact with your skin, slide the thermometer across your forehead toward the top of the ear.
  3. After reaching your hairline, pull the device and look at the display to find your temperature.

Note: Certain newer forehead thermometers don’t require sliding across the forehead. Always check the manufacturer’s directions.

Method 4: armpit

  1. Before use, wash the tip of your digital thermometer with soap and warm water, then rinse with cool water. You can also use rubbing alcohol.
  2. Lift your arm, place the thermometer’s tip in your armpit, then lower your arm down tightly at your side
  3. Keep it there until the thermometer beeps.
  4. After hearing the beep, you can remove the thermometer and look at the digital display to check your temperature.
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