Health Questions and Answers

Question: Does it matter which method I use to take a temperature?

Answer:

Yes. Rectal temperatures are the most accurate representation of core temperatures. Oral, axillary, and tympanic temperatures have considerable variation, and these methods are frequency used and often inaccurate. There is not a correction factor for these alternate modalities to provide a reliable assessment of the core temperature.

Reference: Loveys AA, Dutko-Fioravanti 1, Everly SW, et al: Comparison of ear to rectal temperature measurements in infants and toddlers. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 38:463-466, 1999

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