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It is pretty normal for our body temperature to rise or fall throughout the day. In general, if a person is an adult and their temperature is above 38°C or 100.4°F, there is a big chance that they are experiencing a fever. It is the body’s way to battle infection or illness.
Although it is possible to have a fever without certain cause, they are usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Before using a thermometer, make sure to check your symptoms. Are you experiencing unexplained tiredness and clamminess? Symptoms of fever can be tricky in toddlers and infants.
For more information about infections, visit https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/reports/clinical%20guidelines/ch55c-what-causes-infections.pdf for more details.
Common signs and symptoms of fever include:
Swollen lymph nodes
Young children or infants who have the symptoms may also experience:
Refusal to breastfeed, drink, or eat
Difficulty swallowing food or liquid
In severe cases, it can cause:
Pain when urinating
Unusual vaginal discharge
Moderate to severe heat in different parts of the body
Fever and Corona Virus Disease-19
In late 2019 and early 2020, a new virus emerged and made news for causing a very infectious disease called Corona Virus Disease-19 or CoViD-19. One of the telltale signs of this disease is a low-grade fever that will get worse over time.
Other symptoms include a dry cough and shortness of breath; both will gradually become more severe after a few days. For most individuals, these signs and symptoms will settle down on their own without the help of any medicine. But people need to contact EMS or Emergency Medical Services if they experience confusion, persistent chest pain, blue lips, or difficulty breathing.
How to take body temperature?
There are ways to take body heat, and each has its advantage and disadvantage.
An oral thermometer is one of the most commonly used thermometers to check body temperature. Most, if not all, the oral thermometer has digital readouts, beeps when it finished reading temp, and even alert users if the temperature is too high or high enough to be considered as febrile. Using this method of temp taking is a better way for adults than for babies and children.
To get accurate readings, the patient needs to keep their mouth closed with the device in place for more or less 20 seconds. It can be pretty tricky for babies and children to keep their mouth closed without breaking the device. To use an oral thermometer, patients need to remember some rules. It includes:
Avoid drinking or eating 10 to 15 minutes before inserting the device. It is because drinks and food can alter the temperature in the mouth and affect the result. Hold the device underneath the tongue for 10-20 seconds before removing it.
It needs to be as close to the center of the mouth as possible. It may differ based on the thermometer’s brand, so make sure to check the manual for that specific thermometer. After getting the result, wash and disinfect the device using warm water and antibacterial soap.
To know more about thermometers, click here to find out more.
Ear-based thermometer help measure the heat of the ear’s tympanic membrane (also known as eardrum). Although you can see this type of method in health care facilities, you can use an ear-based thermometer at home too. These devices use a digital readout and deliver results in a matter of seconds.
Infants that are older than six months, children, as well as adults, can use it. Since it is fast, it is usually an easy and excellent option for parents to be used on their young kids. According to studies, this device is as effective as mercury-in-glass thermometers. To use it, patients need to:
Hold the device up to their ear, with the sensor pointing towards the ear canal.
When it is in place, they can turn it on. Most models will have a beeping sound once the reading is complete.
Do not insert a thermometer deep inside the ear canal. It can read temperature properly even if it is just outside the ear canal since it uses infrared radiation, as long as the sensor is pointed towards the ear canal.
To find out more about normal body temperature, check out https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323819 for more information.
People can get a rectal temp by gently inserting a rectal thermometer into the rectum. They can use a standard thermometer, like what you would use when taking oral temperature. But make sure to never use the same thermometer in the mouth once you have inserted it in the rectum – that’s just common sense.
But to make sure that you are doing the right thing, buy two thermometers and label them so that you will not use the device for the rectum and use it to take an oral temperature or vice versa. You can also purchase on the Internet for rectal thermometers with small tips, to be used for little kids and infants.
It can help reduce the risk of injuring them. These devices are the best way to get temperature for young kids and infants. That is because you will be able to get an accurate result. As a matter of fact, a lot of pediatricians will request parents to take rectal temp before seeing them, making sure they have a fever and find out the source of the fever.
To take the temperature:
Turn the infant into their stomach and remove the diaper they are wearing.
Insert the tip of the instrument gently into the rectum. Do not insert it for more than half an inch to one inch.
Turn the instrument on and hold it in place for 10 to 20 seconds.
When the reading is finished, carefully remove the instrument.
Clean the device with disinfectant or rubbing alcohol.
Consider using disposable thermometer sleeves, for sanitary purposes, especially if you want to use it for more than one person.
If the infant or young kid moves around during the taking of the temperature, there is a big chance that you will get an inaccurate result.
Without a temperature-taking instrument
If you do not have temperature-taking instruments, there are ways you can check if a person is febrile or not (but less accurate). Touch is a popular method, but it is also the least accurate. It is only useful if you are self-diagnosing a fever. When using this method, touch your skin before touching the patient to understand the temperature difference.
If the patient temp is a lot hotter than you, there is a big possibility that they have a fever. People can also pinch the back of their hands to check for signs of dehydration. If the skin does not snap back immediately, that person is probably dehydrated. Dehydration is a telltale sign of a fever.