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Step-by-Step Guide on Checking Your Body Heat

Courtesy of: Unsplash
It seems like this information should have been covered back in Health class.

Recalling my initial experience of taking my temperature after leaving my parental home, I came to the realization that I was completely clueless. Understanding the operation of the thermometer was not my forte during childhood; my role was simply to place it in my mouth, wait for a minute, and remove it (occasionally attempting to make myself appear hotter if I wanted to skip school), leaving my parents to interpret the reading. The ability to identify a fever is a crucial skill, especially if you have children of your own, and even more so during a health crisis. If you find yourself in a similar situation as I did, here is a brief and straightforward explanation.

Thanks to advancements in thermometer technology, there are several methods to take your temperature. When using a traditional mercury thermometer, you can measure your temperature by positioning it under your tongue, in your armpit, or rectally. Yes, you read that correctly. Fortunately, modern thermometers are less invasive. Digital thermometers operate in a similar manner to mercury ones, but specialized thermometers can also provide a reading by being placed in the ear or held close to your forehead. Just remember to use a disposable shield if your thermometer necessitates insertion. While it is technically possible to use it without a shield, you will need to thoroughly sanitize it afterwards, preferably using a peroxide solution, which can be quite cumbersome.

Now, onto the burning question: what defines a fever? The average temperature of an adult body tends to be relatively warm on a regular basis. Of course, this can fluctuate depending on various factors such as age, sex, body composition, and even the time of day. Typically, a temperature ranging between 97 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit is considered normal. However, a slight increase can be significant. A temperature of 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit, although not yet a full-blown fever, should raise concerns and prompt you to stay home. A temperature reading of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher indicates a full-blown fever, necessitating an immediate call to your physician.

Interestingly, the temperature parameters are slightly different for infants. For babies under 3 months old, a fever is considered to be 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Between 3 and 6 months, a fever is classified as 102 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Similarly, for babies between 6 and 24 months, a temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher signifies a fever. Beyond that age range, children can be evaluated using the same temperature ranges as adults.

Remember, you cannot accurately gauge your temperature by touch alone. If you are ever unsure, rely on the thermometer for an accurate reading.

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