How to Take Your Temperature
Taking someone’s temperature
Don’t take someone’s temperature immediately after they have been very active, had a bath, a full meal, a hot or cold drink, or a cigarette, because you may get a false reading. Wait for about half an hour.
2. Hold the thermometer at the unshaped end and shake it down sharply two or three times to return the mercury to the bulb.
3. Check that the mercury is below 35°C (94°F). To see the line of the mercury, hold the thermometer over the back of your hand with the magnifying section towards you, then rotate it slightly with your fingers.
4. Place the bulb under the patient’s tongue and tell her to close her lips but not her teeth. Wait two minutes. Remove the thermometer and take the reading. Normal temperature for most people is about 37°C (98.6°F).
Taking someone’s temperature under the arm
If the patient is severely ill, has difficulty breathing or is very young, it may be safer to take the temperature under the arm. There is less risk of the thermometer breaking.
• Rinse, dry and check the thermometer (see above).
• Place the bulb in the patient’s armpit and gently fold the arm across the patient’s chest so that the bulb is in contact with the skin all round.
• Wait five minutes and then read the temperature.
• Temperature taken under the arm is lower than when it is taken under the tongue.