|Thermometers are helpful in two ways.
For victims with a fever (pyrexia), the extent of fever can be
For victims with hypothermia (abnormally low temperatures), the
recovery can be monitored more precisely.
Body core temperature (normally about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37
degrees Celsius) can be measured either orally or rectally.
- Clean the thermometer with alcohol (if possible) or any other
cleansing agent to prevent transmission of bacteria and viruses from
the previous user.
- Shake down the thermometer until the fluid inside measures less than
- Place the tip of the thermometer in the victims mouth, if conscious
and able to cooperate. The tip should be held underneath the
- If the victim is unconscious or unable to cooperate (small children,
for example), lubricate the tip of the thermometer with vaseline or
any oily substance, then insert the thermometer 1/2" inside the
rectum. Hold it in place.
- After two minutes, the thermometer can be removed and read.
A relatively easy (though a little less accurate) technique is to place
the thermometer under the armpit (axilla). Keep the armpit closed for 3
minutes, and then read the value. These axillary temperatures are about 1
degree (F) lower than the core temperature. This means an axillary
temperature of 99.5 degrees reflects a body core temperature of 100.5
After use, clean the thermometer (preferably with alcohol), and replace
it back in its' protective case.
There is no practical difference between a "rectal"
thermometer and an "oral" thermometer. Either can be used orally