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32130When dealing with recurring fevers in children or adults, it’s not uncommon to become concerned with what is the best way to take a temperature. It is important to properly take a temperature with whatever method you choose, as if it is done incorrectly, the reading may be inaccurate and will generally read lower than the true temperature. A fever is considered to be a rectal, ear or temporal artery temperature of 100.4?F (38?C) or higher. Also, follow the directions that come with whatever thermometer you choose, and if it uses batteries, be aware that if it is starting to be inconsistent with readings, it may be time to change the battery.
Take the temperature in both ears and use the highest reading unless you or your child has been laying on that ear. Several things can affect the reading in the ear including laying on one ear, an ear infection, wax build up, and angle of the thermometer. Temporal thermometer readings average about the same as rectal and ear thermometer readings in some studies, but lower in others.
In the past, people used glass mercury thermometers, but this is now not recommended, and they should be disposed of at a proper collection facility. Axillary, where you measure the temperature under the armpit, can be less reliable for getting an accurate body temperature, and can register up to a degree lower than rectal or other methods of taking the internal temperature.
This method can be done more accurately if the thermometer is properly placed in the deepest pit part of the axilla (armpit), and held in that place, with the arm folded down and over the thermometer, until the thermometer is done testing the temperature.
A rectal temperature is generally considered to be the most accurate, and the standard for monitoring the core body temperature, but it is generally not recommended for use in patients, due to the risk of rectal perforation and tears with this method.
Tympanic, temporal artery, or axillary temperatures are the best methods for this age group. A woman’s temperature fluctuates normally with her menstrual cycle and will be higher near ovulation and lower the rest of the cycle. It is normal in any of these methods to get various readings, even when taking the temperature multiple times within just a few minutes.
When monitoring daily temperature for your symptom journal, it is best to take the baseline temperature at the same time of day, generally in the morning. You want to have the most accurate information for your daily symptom logs, so if you need to do more than one temperature to get an accurate reading, or repeat it again later, make sure to record these too. PubMed.gov: Can we trust the new generation of infrared tympanic thermometers in clinical practice? PubMed.gov: Are Temporal Artery Temperatures Accurate Enough to Replace Rectal Temperature Measurement in Pediatric ED Patients? Evaluation of temporal artery and disposable digital oral thermometers in acutely ill patients.
Are Autoinflammatory Diseases Caused by the Environment, Diet, or Lifestyle of the Patient or Parents?
In addition to editing and writing for SAID Support, Jennifer is a Autoinflammatory Alliance board member and support group moderator. Talk to your doctor about what temperature range they would consider a fever and about the recommended treatment.

If it continues to not work right, get a new one, as you need a reliable, accurate and consistent method of taking temperatures. According to the Mayo Clinic, those with a “small, curved ear canal” will have inaccurate readings. These thermometers seem to have the most inconsistencies in how they compare to other methods. For example, the Exergen forehead thermometer requires that you scan the forehead and artery behind the ear while holding the button down the entire time.
There are a number of safe, and accurate ways to take a temperature available that are preferred for patients. Our body temperature normally fluctuates and you may get a difference of a full degree or more in just a few minutes or in the case of ear thermometers, between the left and right ears. You can take it more often, and at other times of the day as needed, but consistency is the key for monitoring daily, and between flares. It may be correct, but it is best to confirm the temperature if it is unusual, and the doctor will ask you if you did take it again, as sometimes there are errors with thermometers, or technique in taking the temperature. Most of the time, you will not need to do more than one temperature a day, if no disease flares or symptoms are present, but you may need to do more frequent temperatures on days with disease flares.
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However, several methods that measure the internal temperature, including oral, axillary, rectal, temporal and ear have been found in various studies to all be accurate ways to take a temperature.
Switching thermometer types and trying to compare different methods each time you take a temperature will only get confusing. Differences may be due to which brand was used in the study and if the patients were febrile or healthy. The pacifier thermometers may work for some, but babies tend to spit these out long before an accurate reading can be made.
Temperatures will naturally rise throughout the day and change based on your activity level. Therefore symptoms and how you or your child feels need to be considered as well when making treatment decisions. Use the same type of thermometer every time and get to know what a normal temperature range is for you or your child when not in a flare and when in a flare using that one method. Know that this is normal, but if you are not confident that you are getting an accurate reading, try another method or thermometer.
Also, if you are on prescribed medications, such as NSAIDS for your disease, your body may not manifest a temperature over what is considered to be a fever, but you could still be symptomatic.

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