How to take a temperature with a glass thermometer

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How to take a temperature with a glass thermometer
There are three ways to take a temperature using a glass thermometer. (thermometer image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com)

Getting an accurate temperature is necessary to determine if a fever is present. A fever may indicate the body fighting off infection. Generally there are two types of thermometers, glass thermometers and digital thermometers. In the past, glass thermometers contained mercury; a toxic and hazardous chemical. If you have a mercury-filled thermometer, replace it with one marked "mercury-free." There are three ways to take a temperature using glass thermometers: oral, rectal and axillary.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Mercury-free glass thermometer
  • Alcohol
  • Petroleum jelly

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Clean the thermometer using soap and warm water or alcohol and then rinse with cool water. An oral thermometer has a long bulb on one end.

  2. 2

    Grasp the thermometer firmly and shake down until the temperature is below 94.

  3. 3

    Place the tip of the thermometer under the tongue towards the back of the mouth. Close the mouth and hold the thermometer with lips or fingers. Leave the thermometer in place for three minutes.

  4. 4

    Remove the thermometer, hold at eye level and read it. Although it may vary slightly, the normal oral temperature is 98.6 Fahrenheit.

  1. 1

    Clean the thermometer using soap and warm water or alcohol and then rinse with cool water. A rectal thermometer has a stubby bulb on one end.

  2. 2

    Grasp the thermometer firmly and shake down until the temperature is below 94.

  3. 3

    Put a small amount of petroleum jelly on the bulb end of the thermometer.

  4. 4

    Insert 1 inch of the bulb end of the thermometer into the rectum and keep in place for three minutes.

  5. 5

    Remove the thermometer, hold at eye level and read it. Although it may vary slightly, the normal rectal temperature is 99.6 Fahrenheit.

  1. 1

    Clean the thermometer using soap and warm water or alcohol and then rinse with cool water. An axillary thermometer has a long bulb on one end.

  2. 2

    Grasp the thermometer firmly and shake down until the temperature is below 94.

  3. 3

    Place the thermometer high into the dry armpit. Hold it in place for 7 to 10 minutes by folding the arm across the chest.

  4. 4

    Remove the thermometer, hold at eye level and read it. Although it may vary slightly, the normal axillary temperature is 97.6 Fahrenheit.

Tips and warnings

  • The body temperature should not be taken within a half hour after having a cold or hot drink.

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