The list below are the different parts of the body which you can take the temperature of the body, and the special points to note when taking the body temperature.
IN THE MOUTH
In the hospital, each patient or person should be provided with an individual thermometer in a test tube of antiseptic. For example, 1-10 glycerine and thymol which can be stored at a central point in the ward or beside the patient.
The patient’s co-operation must be gained to ensure that he or she does not clench his or her teeth or try to speak while the thermometer is in his mouth.
The bulb is put under the tongue and the nurse may require to hold it in position.
CONTRAINDICATIONS OF TAKING THE TEMPERATURE IN THE MOUTH
- Delirium (is an abrupt change in the brain that causes mental confusion and emotional disruption. It makes it difficult to think, remember, sleep, pay attention, and more).
2. Children who are unable or unwilling to co-operate.
3. Where there is Dyspnoea ( difficult in breathing).
4. If the patient is liable to take fits.
5. When the patient’s nose has been packed with guaze.
6. Immediately after the patient has had a hot or a cold drink.
7. Where there is local disease of the mouth. Example, stomatitis.
8. Unconscious patients.
IN THE AXILLA AND THE GROIN
1. The site must be dry before inserting the thermometer.
2. The patient must be asked to be still while the thermometer is in position to make sure that it does not become dislodged and possible broken.
3. The skin surfaces must completely surround the bulb of the thermometer to ensure an accurate reading.
IN THE RECTUM
A special rectal thermometer is used which has a shorter and thicker bulb, usually coloured. Each patient should have his own thermometer which should not be used by anyone else. A jar of petroleum jelly is required in addition to the routine requirements. This is the method most commonly used to take the temperature of babies. It is used only in special cases for adults.
TO TAKE THE RECTAL TEMPERATURE OF A BABY
1. The baby should be wrapped in a blanket to immobilise the arms and should lie on his or her face across the nurse’s knee.
2. The thermometer is rinsed, dried , checked, lubricated with petroleum jelly, inserted into the rectum for about one to one and a half inches, and held in position.
3. On removal, it is wiped with a wool swab, the reading noted and recorded, shaken down, then returned to the jar of disinfectant.
TO TAKE THE RECTAL TEMPERATURE OF AN ADULT
1. The patient should lie in the left lateral position.
2. The bed should be screened and the procedure explained to the patient.
3. The bedclothes are turned back, leaving the patient covered with one blanket.
4. The thermometer is then removed from the jar, rinsed, dried, checked, lubricated, and inserted one to two inches into the rectum. It may not be necessary for the nurse to hold it in position, but she must stay with the patient.
5. After its removal, the thermometer should be wiped, read, shaken down and replaced in the jar of disinfectant. The reading should be recorded immediately.
6. The patient is then left comfortable and all equipment removed.