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How to interpret a temperature

Overcoming the “fever fear factor”

Taking a childs temperature.What is considered a fever? What is a “normal” body temperature? As cold and flu season is upon us, parents should have a good understanding of what constitutes a fever, as well as safe, accurate temperature taking. You can overcome the “fever fear factor“ by learning how to take a temperature correctly and knowing when it’s important to call to the doctor. When it comes to temperature taking, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

How to interpret readings?

It is somewhat of a misconception that normal body temperature is defined as 98.6°F, since everyone’s body temperature fluctuates during the day, and everyone has a different “normal” body temperature that isn’t necessarily 98.6°F. Reduce anxiety and increase confidence associated with taking temperatures by becoming familiar with the use of the thermometer on a “normal” day—a day when there is no reason to suspect your child has a fever.

What site is right? Choosing a thermometer.

Temperatures are taken most commonly in the mouth (orally), in the bottom (rectally), under the arm (axillary) or in the ear (tympanic). Each method is considered accurate when done correctly. Except for ear thermometers, most digital thermometers are universal, meaning you can take oral, rectal or underarm measurements. Check with your pediatrician regarding the method which is best for your child. Please note: For infants under the age of 3 months, temperatures should be taken rectally.

Normal temperature ranges for different body sites

Underarm: 94.5 F - 99.0°F
Oral: 95.9 F - 99.5°F
Rectal: 97.9 F - 100.3°F
Ear: 96.4 F - 100.3°F

Learn more about taking temperatures at different sites

What's new in thermometers?

ThermometersBraun ThermoScan® ExacTemp Ear Thermometer
Vicks® Digital Thermometers with FeverInSight™

Some Tips on Thermometers

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