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VOL: 99, ISSUE: 34, PAGE NO: 29


- The body temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain. Core temperature is the temperature below the subcutaneous tissue.



- It is recorded orally, per axilla, per rectum or via the ear canal.



- The normal range of body temperature is 36°-37.5°C, this may vary according to the site used for measurement. It can be more than 0.4°C higher than the oral temperature and 0.2°C lower than the rectal temperature (Jamieson et al, 2002).



- The patient’s condition and reason for recording the temperature will give an indication of how frequently it should be recorded.



- To establish a baseline.



- To monitor response to infection.



- Hypothermia.



- During and after an operation.



- During blood transfusion.



- Equipment needed: disposable/electronic thermometer; watch with second hand; cover for electronic thermometer; gloves and tissues (if recording per rectum).



- Observe the patient’s general condition. Refer to the patient’s observation chart.



- Wash hands and explain procedure to patient.



- Check that the reading on the thermometer is 34°C (Mallett and Dougherty, 2000).



- Apply a plastic sheath to the probe if required.



- Ask the patient to open his or her mouth.



- Place the probe under the tongue.



- Ask the patient to close his or her mouth.



- Remove the thermometer on hearing the audible tone.



- Record the temperature on the patient’s observation chart.



- Dispose of sheath and wash hands.



- Wash hands and explain the procedure to the patient.



- Help the patient to loosen any clothing for easy access to the axilla.



- Once the thermometer is prepared ensure the axilla is dry and place the probe in the axilla.



- Ask the patient to hold his or her arm across his or her chest.



- Remove the probe as required (see manufacturer’s guidelines).



- Measure the temperature and record on patient’s observation chart.



- Clean/dispose of used thermometer according to policy.



- Refer to manufacturer’s guidelines.



- Explain procedure to patient.



- Wash hands and apply gloves.



- Ensure patient’s privacy.



- The patient should lie on his or her side with knees bent.



- Gently insert the thermometer probe 2-4cm into the patient’s anus (Jamieson et al, 2002).



- Remove the thermometer probe after the required time.



- Wipe around the patient’s anus and ensure patient’s comfort.



- Dispose of gloves and wash hands.



- Record the temperature on patient’s observation chart.



- Clean/dispose of the used thermometer according to policy.



- The tympanic thermometer uses infrared light to read temperature.



- Wash hands and explain procedure to patient.



- Ensure that you have good access to the patient’s ear.



- Apply the disposable cover.



- Place the probe in the ear.



- Measure the temperature and record on patient’s observation chart.



- Dispose of cover and wash hands.



Fawcett, J. (2001)
The accuracy and reliability of the tympanic membrane thermometer: a literature review. Emergency Nurse; 8: 9, 13-17.



O’Toole, S. (1997)Alternatives to mercury thermometers. Professional Nurse; 12: 111, 783-786.



Tortora, G.R., Grabowski, S.R. (1993)Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

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