What is a digital thermometer?
When a fever strikes, it's important to identify it quickly. A digital thermometer is a device that allows you to quickly and accurately take a temperature and can be a vital tool in managing illness. A digital thermometer can be used in different ways to measure a temperature and provides a quicker reading than traditional thermometers.
Why should you take your temperature?
Checking your body’s temperature with a thermometer is an easy way to identify a fever. It can provide useful information to a doctor or pharmacist so they can provide a suitable treatment for your illness.
What is causes a fever?
A normal body temperature is around 37°C. A fever is usually when your body temperature is 37.8°C or higher. It can cause you to feel warm, cold or shivery. A fever is your body’s natural response to many common illnesses such as:
- Kidney or urinary tract infections (UTIs)
A fever stimulates your immune system to help your body fight infections. Through increasing your body[‘s temperature, a fever makes it harder for bacteria and viruses to survive.
When to seek medical advice
Seek medical attention if:
- You have severe thirst or reduced urine output
- You are passing urine that is darker than normal
- You are light-headed or weak
- You have new, severe muscle cramps
- Your symptoms have worsened, or you notice new symptoms
- You’ve had a fever after recent foreign travel
How does a digital thermometer work?
Digital thermometers contain a small computing mechanism and a resistor. A change in temperature causes the sensor to notice a change in resistance, which the computer converts the difference in resistance into a difference in temperature and shows this difference as a reading in degrees. Digital thermometers can be used to measure a temperature in yourself or your child, as well as checking the temperature of your child’s bath water or bottle.
How to use a digital thermometer
There are two main ways that you can take a temperature using a digital thermometer.
Older children and adults can usually have their temperature taken by mouth. Be aware that a young child may not be able to hold a thermometer in his mouth for a long time until they are around 5 or 6 years old. Place the thermometer under the side of the tongue. Ensure that your lips are firmly close around the thermometer, but do not bite it. Once the thermometer indicates that it has taken its reading, remove the thermometer and read it.
- It can be helpful to ask a child to hum to ensure they keep their mouth closed whilst the thermometer takes their temperature
- Remember that cold and hot drinks or chewing gum can change oral temperature, so avoid all of these factors before having your temperature taken to ensure an accurate reading
It is recommended to use a thermometer in the armpit with children under the age of 5. Hold them comfortably on your knee and put the thermometer in their armpit. Gently, but firmly, hold their arm against their body to ensure the thermometer stays in place. The display on the thermometer will then give a reading of the temperature.
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