Taking a Temperature
Body heat is measured by taking a temperature with a thermometer. An
increase in temperature, called a fever, may be a sign of infection.
The common scale used to measure body temperature in the United States is
degrees Fahrenheit (F). Other countries use degrees Centigrade (C).
Temperature is measured using a thermometer orally, by placing it in the
mouth, or axillary, by placing it under the arm in the armpit. Take a baby’s
temperature under the arm unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
Buy a digital thermometer at your local grocery or drug store. Ask for
help to find them in the store.
Taking a temperature using a digital thermometer
• Oral or Mouth Temperature
Do not put anything hot or cold in the mouth for 15 minutes before taking
a temperature. This can affect the reading.
1. Take the thermometer out of its holder.
2. Clean the thermometer with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
3. Turn the thermometer on and cover with a disposable cover if
available. Check that the screen is clear of any earlier readings.
4. Place the tip of the thermometer under the tongue toward the back of
5. Close the lips gently around the thermometer. Do not bite down. It
may need to be held it in place with a hand.
6. Keep the thermometer in place until it beeps.
7. Remove the thermometer.
8. Read the numbers in the window. These numbers are the
temperature. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees F by
9. Write the temperature down if a record is to be kept.