There are numerous ways to measure body temperature using high-quality thermometers.
Thermometers allow individuals to measure body temperature via different body parts/locations depending on the device.
It includes under the arm, behind the ear, in the ear, from the forehead, orally or rectally.
The location where body temperature is measured also influences the thermometer’s accuracy.
As a result, it’s essential to determine the best location and method to ensure accurate and consistent temperature readings.
With that said, here are the most common ways to measure body temperature using thermometers.
1. Behind-The-Ear Thermometers
Behind-the-ear thermometers measure body temperature by sensing and measuring heat behind the ear.
Importantly, this is different from obtaining a measurement from inside the ear like a tympanic thermometer.
Instead of operating internally, these thermometers provide optimal comfort by functionality behind the ear.
As a result, they don’t require individuals to sit in an uncomfortable position or have their temperature measured internally.
The benefit of using a behind-the-ear thermometer is that it’s comfortable, sometimes contactless, and provides rapid assessments among many individuals in busy settings.
However, body temperature measurements may not be consistent when taking external temperature readings.
It’s because factors such as sweat, hot/cold environments, clothing, and heat changes affect temperature recordings.
To obtain an accurate head reading, ensure the ear is at a steady temperature before taking a thermometer measurement.
It usually takes several minutes to achieve because previously covered ears from resting on a pillow or using ear muffs generate more heat. However, waiting until the body is at a natural temperature allows for more accurate thermometer readings.
2. Ear/Tympanic Thermometers
An infrared ear or tympanic thermometers measure infrared energy coming from the tympanic membrane inside the ear.
The tympanic membrane is an excellent way to get an accurate body temperature reading when used correctly.
However, various factors affect temperature readings if not appropriately managed.
Firstly, it’s essential to hold the device correctly when taking an infrared reading using an ear/tympanic thermometer.
It’s because the thermometer must align with the tympanic membrane appropriately.
Also, make sure there are no obstructions or infections inside the ear. Otherwise, the obstruction/infection could affect the temperature recording and produce an inaccurate reading.
Finally, check to ensure a clear pathway before measuring body temperature.
Consequently, curved ear canals can interfere with readings.
As a result, individuals with significant curvatures may require a different thermometer for measuring body temperature.
3. Forehead/Temporal Artery Thermometers
The forehead or temporal thermometer uses infrared technology to measure body heat via the temporal artery.
This thermometer provides optimal comfort by measuring body temperature externally.
As a result, it’s beneficial for uncomfortable children compared to an oral thermometer.
Because forehead/temporal thermometers measure body temperature externally, numerous factors affect its accuracy.
It includes sweating, heat/ice pads, hot/cold environments, body-heat altered by laying on a pillow, head clothing, and other factors.
Therefore, it’s essential to give the forehead time to breathe and reach a stable temperature before assessing.
Also, check the instructions on proper operation before taking a temperature or assuming a reading is accurate.
4. Oral Thermometers
Oral thermometers are one of the most popular thermometers on the market.
Healthcare professionals and parents frequently use them because they’re accurate and consistent for measuring body temperature.
These thermometers measure temperature using a metal (heat sensing) probe placed and held below the tongue.
Once held, the metal probe constantly measures the body’s temperature as it looks for a stable heat signal.
After some time, the oral thermometer beeps, indicating the user’s body temperature at that moment.
Oral thermometers must remain under the tongue to ensure an accurate reading.
Furthermore, the mouth needs to remain closed until you’ve obtained a steady temperature.
As a result, oral thermometers are best for those who can safely and correctly hold a thermometer under their tongue.
Wait at least 15 minutes after eating or drinking before measuring your body temperature.
It’s because foods and liquids alter the body’s internal heat leading to inaccurate thermometer readings.
Finally, oral thermometers are unsuitable for infants, young children, unconscious individuals, or those with specific medical conditions. Consequently, these thermometers can be unsafe when misused.
Pacifier thermometers take temperate body readings orally.
However, they’re for infant use as a comfortable alternative to rectal thermometers.
With that said, many healthcare providers prefer measuring an infant’s temperature rectally for accurate readings.
Furthermore, pacifier thermometers are less standard than other thermometer designs.
It’s because accuracy varies depending on numerous factors and isn’t always reliable.
Some factors that affect temperature readings include the infant constantly moving the thermometer around or removing it.
Recent meals also influence a baby’s body temperate.
Therefore, obtaining temperature readings rectally is recommended when possible.
5. Underarm Thermometers
Underarm thermometers measure body temperature under the armpit, as the name suggests.
These thermometers are placed in the underarm and remain there until users obtain a steady temperature.
With that said, most people don’t measure body temperature via the armpit.
It’s because there are more accurate methods for measuring body temperature.
Also, sweating, body movement, hair, and varying temperature zones negatively impact thermometer accuracy.
As a result, most individuals use oral and rectal thermometers to obtain the most accurate temperature readings.
6. Rectal Thermometers
Measuring body temperature from the rectum is the most accurate way to obtain accurate and consistent readings.
It’s because rectal thermometers obtain readings closer to the internal body where the temperature is less likely to vary.
Furthermore, there are fewer factors that affect temperature readings.
Rectal thermometers measure and record body temperature anally as the name suggests.
Measuring body temperature requires inserting a short, blunted tip into the anus.
Essentially, the short, blunted tip minimizes discomfort and prevents damaging soft tissue.
Rectal thermometers are best for infants/toddlers and very young kids/children.
These devices are safer and easier to use because small children/infants often have difficulty remaining still.
Also, oral thermometers create a risk among small children/infants due to their ability to poke and damage soft tissue.
From infants to adults, rectal thermometers are one of the best ways to measure body temperature because of their accuracy and reliability.