UNDERSTANDING ABOUT BABY'S TEMPERATURE
For some parent, taking our baby’s temperatures can become a frustrating
experiences. Our baby will probably wiggle, squirm and fidget through all process,
making it next to impossible to accomplish. However, by keeping a few things
in mind, it is a taks that you can complete.
Some reasons to take your baby’s temperature include:
- Your baby is particularly irritable, and nothing seems to soothe her
- Your baby’s skin is hot to the touch
- Your baby has a rash or has excessive sweating
- Your baby is breathing fast or noisily
- Your baby has a runny nose, is coughing, or has other cold and flu symptoms
There are a variety of types of thermometers available to use. Mercury thermometers
are thought to be the most reliable. On the down side, mercury thermometers
are breakable, and can be dangerous. Digital thermometers are generally accurate,
and will typically give a correct reading if the battery is not low.
Thermometers vary as to the way they are used. There are oral thermometers,
which may be digital or mercury. There are rectal thermometers, which also may
be digital or mercury. There are ear thermometers which are only digital. Digital
ear thermometers do not give as accurate a reading as other thermometers. The
most accurate method for reading your baby’s temperature is with a rectal
To take your baby’s temperature with a rectal thermometer:
- First, wash the thermometer thoroughly in soapy water. Rinse, and use alcohol
to sterilize it.
- If you are using a mercury thermometer, shake the thermometer so that the
mercury is below 98.6 degrees.
- Next, use petroleum jelly to coat the tip.
- Place your baby on a comfortable surface on his tummy.
- Gently spread your baby’s buttocks apart until you see the anal opening.
Insert the anal thermometer carefully into the opening. Be sure it does not
go more than one inch into the rectum.
- Help your baby hold still by putting one hand on the small of his back.
Use the index finger and thumb of the other hand to hold the thermometer in
place. Place the other fingers of that hand on the baby’s buttocks.
- After the required time has passed (usually three minutes, check your thermometer
label to be sure) take out the thermometer carefully and slowly.
- Read the thermometer. A typical rectal thermometer reading for an infant
should be around 99.6 degrees, although this will vary from one child to another.
- After you are all done, be sure to wash and sterilize the thermometer again.
For a parent who needs to take an child's or baby's temperature, we can now
choose three digital options:
- Rectal temperature. Various digital rectal thermometers are available for
taking rectal temperatures. Parents worry about these because of fear of injury
from improper insertion. At least one infant digital rectal thermometer currently
available has a probe so short that there is little chance of injury. The
thermometer has an audible alert when the measurement is done, as well as
a digital readout.
- Auxiliary temperature. Any of the digital thermometers can be used in the
armpit, but a disc-shaped thermometer fits more comfortably. The entire disc
is covered when the arm is brought against the chest wall. The temperature
appears on a digital readout when the alert sounds. Although auxiliary temperature
is not as accurate as rectal temperature, in a well-bundled infant, it is
accurate enough to tell you if you should be alarmed or not.
- Otic temperature. This device is called a tympanic or ear thermometer. It
is the quickest of the digital thermometers, working in only a second. In
order to get an accurate temperature, the thermometer must be directed toward
the eardrum. Parents may initially have some difficulty doing this, but with
practice, it becomes an easy process. This thermometer provides an accurate
core temperature when properly placed.
You should avoid other fever "detectors," such as strips that you
place on a child's forehead or pacifiers that have a dot that changes color
to indicate a fever. These aren't as reliable as a fever thermometer. If an
infant is able to keep his mouth tightly closed around the pacifier, the temperature
may be accurate, but if the infant must breathe through the mouth, the temperature
will not be accurate.
When using any of the digital devices, read and carefully follow the directions.
If you choose to take rectal temperatures, the digital rectal thermometer with
the short probe is recommended because of reduced risk for injury.
One of the most important things to remember about fever in children is that
a child’s appearance -- how sick he or she looks -- and your gut feeling
should help make the decision on whether to call your health care provider.
Children can be extremely or even critically ill and not have a fever. They
can also have a high fever and be only mildly ill, or even running around as
if nothing were wrong. Your decision to call should be based on all this information
with a few ironclad exceptions. (by stjohn.org - BABY.TopResource.NET Reference)