Advantages And Disadvantages Of Taking Body Temperature From Different Sites In a Child

Fever in a child can cause lots of anxiety among parents, especially among inexperienced parents. If your child develops fever, it may raise number of questions, such as will fever lead to febrile seizure, hallucination, and brain damage can occur due to extremely high fever. Febrile seizures may occur in children below five years of age. There is high risk of developing epilepsy among children who develop febrile seizure with every fever, hence, these children should be treated aggressively so that body temperature (fever) cannot rise above certain level and febrile seizure can be prevented.

In case of very high fever, i.e. temperature above 106 degree Fahrenheit, there may be brain damage, if fever is not brought down rapidly, by cold sponging and other measures. If body temperature is very high it is not advisable to administer fever medication, because they may not work properly at very high body temperature.

One can take temperature of a child from oral cavity, underarm, rectum, ear, forehead etc. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of taking temperature of a child with fever from various sites:

Oral temperature

Technique: put the thermometer under the tongue until there is a beep, which indicate time to withdraw the thermometer.

Pros of taking oral temperature: children above 4 years can use and there is no need to remove cloths. Accuracy is very good and provide near accurate reading.

Cons of taking oral temperature: very young children (below 4 years of age) may not allow the thermometer to put under the tongue and they may not cooperate.

Points to remember: If your child has taken any warm liquid, delay taking oral temperature by 15 minutes.

Rectal temperature

Technique: keep your child on your lap in supine position or keep your child on his/her back with leg up.

Pros of taking rectal temperature: rectal reading gives the most accurate body temperature. Suitable for kids below 3 years of age.

Cons of taking rectal temperature: Older children will not like it. Need to remove cloths.

Rectal temperature is the most accurate and hence, it is the best.

Armpit temperature

Technique: Put the thermometer under any arm (axilla) until it beeps.

Pros of taking armpit temperature: It is very easy to use. Can be used on non-cooperative children too.

Cons of taking rectal temperature: If room is very cold, may give false low result.

Tip: many doctors advice to add 1 degree Fahrenheit, as the accuracy is less.

Ear temperature

Technique: put the tip of thermometer inside the ear canal

Pros of taking ear temperature: gives fast result and fairly accurate

Cons of taking ear temperature: The tip of thermometer may be difficult to insert in ear canal. Not suitable, for children below 1 year of age.

Forehead temperature

Pros of taking forehead temperature: Possible to record temperature very fast. Comfortable for children.

Cons of taking forehead temperature: Need special thermometer which is costly too. Accuracy may vary.

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