This method provides the most accurate reading. Talk with your baby's healthcare provider before taking your baby's temperature this way. For infants and toddlers, be sure to use a rectal thermometer correctly. A rectal thermometer may accidentally poke a hole in perforate the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Wipe the thermometer with warm, soapy water, then wipe with clear water.
How to Take a Rectal Temperature Reading Correctly
Jump to content. You can take a temperature using the mouth oral , anus rectal , armpit axillary , or ear tympanic. But the temperature readings vary depending on which one you use, and you need an accurate body temperature to determine if a fever is present. Medical research hasn't determined an exact correlation between oral, rectal, ear, armpit, and forehead temperature measurements. Generally, the correlation of temperature results are as follows:. When you talk with your doctor about your temperature, be sure to say what method was used to take the temperature.
How to Take a Rectal Temperature
Rectal thermometry is taking a person's temperature by inserting a thermometer into the rectum via the anus. Thus, it is often used sparingly and primarily on infants, children, or adults for whom taking an oral temperature would risk injury e. The precise history of rectal thermometry is largely unknown, but medical thermometers have long been made in a tube shape that fits into the anus. Medical literature shows the practice dating back to at least the 18th century, and it is probable that rectal thermometry was thought to be a safer alternative to oral temperature-taking, due to the use of mercury and other toxic chemicals in early thermometers. As thermometry-related technology improves in the 21st century, rectal thermometry is becoming decreasingly pervasive, but it is still the preferred method for taking the temperature of infants and pets.
Thermometer choices got you baffled? Understand the options — and when to seek medical help for a fever. If your child feels warm or seems under the weather, it's probably time to take his or her temperature. Sounds simple enough — but if you're new to it, you might have questions.