All kids get a fever from time to time. A fever itself usually causes no harm and can actually be a good thing — it's often a sign that the body is fighting an infection. But when your child wakes in the middle of the night flushed, hot, and sweaty, it's easy to be unsure of what to do next.
Fever in patients can provide an important clue to the etiology of a patient's symptoms. Non-invasive temperature sites oral, axillary, temporal may be insensitive due to a variety of factors. This has not been well studied in adult emergency department patients.
Top of the page Check Your Symptoms. Fever is the body's normal and healthy reaction to infection and other illnesses, both minor and serious. It helps the body fight infection.
Nonetheless, scientific data that define normal temperatures in healthy individuals using the various devices that are currently available are sadly lacking. Does placing a thermometer into the rectal vault, containing various amounts of stool and surrounded by large muscles which require a relatively long time to heat up or cool down accurately reflect the temperature of arterial blood? I seriously doubt it. There is, however, a long history of using rectal temperature measurements in infants and young children and oral temperatures in older children and adults to ascertain whether an individual is febrile.
Still, it can be hard to know for sure when you have a fever—and to know what your temperature actually means. Well, it turns out that diagnosing a fever may not be as straightforward as we've been led to believe. Yep, it turns out that oft-cited number originally came from the work of German doctor Carl Wunderlich in the s.
Fever may be an indicator of illness. The three best ways to measure body temperature are rectally, orally, or with a tympanic thermometer ear. In infants under 3 months old, only take a rectal temperature.
A: It may make both you and your kid a little squeamish, but it's best to take your child's temperature rectally until age 3 or so. But after this age, you can try other types of thermometers, like axillary under the armtympanic in the earor oral in the mouth. If you go the oral route, make sure your child knows not to bite it, which can skew the results.
While you often can tell if your child is warmer than usual by feeling his forehead, only a thermometer can tell how high the temperature is. Even if your child feels warmer than usual, you do not necessarily need to check this temperature unless he has other signs of illness. Mercury thermometers should not be used. The American Academy of Pediatrics AAP encourages parents to remove mercury thermometers from their homes to prevent accidental exposure and poisoning.
Normal body temperature may change during any given day. It is usually highest in the evening. Other factors that may affect body temperature are:.