A fever is your child’s body’s natural response in combating an infection. When your child has a fever, they may exhibit signs such as warmth, flushed skin, sweating, or chills. To accurately determine whether your child has a fever, it is crucial to take their temperature. The best thermometers for taking your body temperature provide the most reliable results. This is particularly important as symptoms resembling a fever can be triggered by being overdressed.
Understanding how to use a thermometer to take your child’s temperature is essential. A variety of thermometers can be used to take temperatures from different parts of the body; before using any thermometer, it is important to familiarize oneself with the manufacturer’s instructions. Almost every thermometer has a recommended orientation for best readings.
Even though most fevers go away on their own, you should take your child to the doctor if his or her temperature stays above 102 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours or goes above 104 degrees. Fevers over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit needs medical attention for infants younger than three months.
Always let your doctor know the exact location and type of thermometer you use when reporting a fever. See below for a comparison of various thermometers.
Many medical professionals advise taking a rectal temperature in infants and young children (those under the age of three) since it is the most internal and, thus the most reliable measurement. Before you use the thermometer, put a small amount of petroleum jelly on the clean bulb. The baby should be put on his or her stomach on a lap or a changing table. Babies can also be changed while facing up on a changing table by elevating their legs (knees to chest). Then, carefully place the bulb half an inch to an inch into your child’s rectum. Take care to keep your baby from wriggling too much while you take the temperature by holding the thermometer in place with two fingers until it beeps.
In cooperative children over 3, inserting the thermometer under the tongue is accurate if the child maintains their lips tight and does not drink hot or cold drinks. 15–20 minutes before thermometer insertion You can get an inaccurate reading if your kid doesn’t keep the thermometer beneath their tongue until it beeps.
Ear (Tympanic) Thermometer
Tympanic thermometers, also called remote ear thermometers, use an infrared ray to detect an individual’s core body temperature from the exterior of the ear. Consider this alternative if your child is too active or sensitive to sit still for a traditional thermometer. Parents should realize that ear wax, ear canal shape, and device distance can greatly affect accuracy. While a tympanic thermometer for under $20 may seem appealing on a tight budget, it’s important to research before purchasing. Ask your doctor about the brands they use in their own homes.
The armpit is the least reliable spot to check your kid’s temperature. If your kid won’t let you implant it elsewhere, a thermometer beneath the arm for four or five minutes would do in a hurry. In order to get a more accurate reading, many doctors advise patients to add 1 degree Fahrenheit to the temperature taken under the arm, as this is typically lower than the actual core body temperature. A low reading could be a result of the room’s chilliness.
Digital Forehead (Temporal) Thermometer
You can put these to good use when your infant is too small to sit still. They are quick and reasonably accurate. The location near the temporal artery (between the rim of the eye and the hairline) is ideal for the infrared sensor. Make sure you follow the instructions thoroughly to get a reliable result.
The accuracy of a temporal thermometer is similarly affected by factors including direct sunshine, forehead sweat, and how close or far away the instrument is held when measuring a temperature, as is the case with a tympanic-style thermometer.
A child’s temperature can be monitored continually with a wearable thermometer without waking or disturbing him or her. They can aid by keeping tabs on the temperature over time. The majority of these devices sync with an app that shows the temperature.
Although these noninvasive thermometers may seem ideal for children, research has shown that they are not always accurate, which can be an issue for youngsters who are sick with a fever. Measuring skin temperature rather than core temperature is a key drawback of wearing thermometers. Additional variables can affect the reading, such as the sensor’s placement, the subject’s level of exercise, and the ambient temperature.
Forehead Thermometer Strips
Taking a child’s temperature with a forehead thermometer strip is gentle and unobtrusive. Simply place the strip on your forehead and wait for the color to register. However, forehead thermometer strips are incorrect and not recommended for use. According to the University of Oxford in England, when tested, forehead strip thermometers were only accurate 4 out of 10 times, making them inefficient for detecting fevers.
Think About Leaving Mercury Behind
No matter what kind of thermometer you end up buying, you should probably avoid using ones that use mercury. This very toxic substance can potentially impair cognitive function by damaging the brain, spinal cord, liver, and kidneys. If it breaks, your family could be exposed to mercury vapors. Do you still have one in the bathroom drawer? Don’t just throw anything out without thinking. Drop it off at your local hazardous waste collection facility or give it to your child’s pediatrician so they can dispose of it properly.
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