Most accurate way to take a temp

  1. I'm just a student, so no clinical experience. In my personal experience as a mom, however, I have gone through several kinds of thermometers. I have bought and returned some really expensive ones including the ear one and the forehead one. Even with the last two kinds, I found that when I scanned my child's temp it would give very different readings even a minute apart, like by 2-3 degrees! I finally gave up and bought a glass non-mercury thermometer and we use that under the kids' arms.

    When my kids and I got to the doctor they use the ear and forehead ones. I wonder how accurate those really are. Today I picked my daughter up from school because her stomach was hurting. The nurse said her temp was normal (she used the ear one). I got home and she had a 102.4 fever!

    IIt really is important to have an accurate reading, because I treat a temp differently if it's 101 vs. 104.5. What's your experience on the most accurate thermometer for hospital, clinical, and home use? Are the store bought ones (even the expensive ones) not as good as what they use in clinical or hospital settings?
    Last edit by AmericanChai on Nov 7, '07
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   EmmaG
    I personally never thought the tympanic thermometers were all that accurate. Well... they are if you aim 'em just right which is hard to do, especially in a kid.
  4. by   donsterRN
    Quote from Emmanuel Goldstein
    I personally never thought the tympanic thermometers were all that accurate. Well... they are if you aim 'em just right which is hard to do, especially in a kid.
    I don't think they are, either, but that's the norm on the floor I'm currently on in clinicals.
  5. by   leslie :-D
    we use one that scans the forehead through a sensor.
    the DON swears by it, as do the other nurses.

    to me, even though it takes longer, i stand by the old-fashioned, mercury ones.
    anything digital/electronic, i just can't trust.

    leslie
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    I like the old-fashioned glass thermometers too.

    Nothing else seems accurate to me.

    steph
  7. by   EmmaG
    Quote from Don3218
    I don't think they are, either, but that's the norm on the floor I'm currently on in clinicals.
    I've held them still in place and clicked repeatedly, getting a different reading each time. And sometimes up to a degree or more difference. Temporal artery thermometers are supposed to be extremely accurate, but I've not had much practice with them.
  8. by   donsterRN
    Quote from earle58
    we use one that scans the forehead through a sensor.
    the DON swears by it, as do the other nurses.

    to me, even though it takes longer, i stand by the old-fashioned, mercury ones.
    anything digital/electronic, i just can't trust.

    leslie
    Quote from stevielynn
    I like the old-fashioned glass thermometers too.

    Nothing else seems accurate to me.

    steph
    Quote from Emmanuel Goldstein
    I've held them still in place and clicked repeatedly, getting a different reading each time. And sometimes up to a degree or more difference. Temporal artery thermometers are supposed to be extremely accurate, but I've not had much practice with them.
    I'm showing my age, aren't I?

    I totally agree with you all about the glass thermometers. Perfectly accurate, once I learned how to read it. I don't trust anything else, either!
  9. by   zuzi
    Agree with you! Glass thermometre! But from were you could buy one, here?????
  10. by   AmericanChai
    Quote from zuzi
    Agree with you! Glass thermometre! But from were you could buy one, here?????
    I got mine at Walgreens for $8. It is non-mercury and the temp device is inside the glass. If it breaks, the liquid (whatever it is) will not spill out all over the place. My dh actually broke one a few months ago and we had to sweep it up but nothing spilled.

    http://www.walgreens.com/store/produ...id=prod1034572#
  11. by   Conrad283
    Anything manual is the best.

    And unfortunately rectally is the best route, unless contraindicated.
  12. by   TazziRN
    Most accurate way is rectal. I loved the tymps when they first came out, but I learned quickly in triage that they are not accurate in children and babies in spite of the commercials and ads, because they have to be aimed juuuuust so. Plus the probe is bigger than a newborns canal.

    I recently got a temporal thermometer for work, when I saw my coworkers using them. I have actually gotten very accurate readings with those. When I get an INaccurate reading it's because I either did not have good contact (low reading) or the thermometer itself hadn't adjusted to the room temp yet (ERR). Both times I know when it's not accurate. I tested it on my youngest today......DD#1 took Monster's temp ax and got 101.8. I took it temporally and got 102.
  13. by   BrnEyedGirl
    We have gotten rid of everything except glass and electronic thermometers. We've tried many and never kept anything for long. Any child under 5 or anyone with a c/o that is related to temp must have a rectal temp in our ER! (or a foley temp) That might be going a bit far with the 30 y/o cough, runny nose, as I'm not really sure it matters if his temp is 101 or 103 but its policy!
  14. by   santhony44
    Ear thermometers absolutely are not accurate on a consistent basis! I've seen them give normal readings when the oral digital thermometer then read over 102, and I've seen them panic parents by reading 106! (Temp wasn't over 101). I discourage parents from buying or keeping them and insist that we use digital axillary or rectal in the clinic, at least for kids. (I have a plan to make the ear one disappear!!)

    I've had pretty good luck with a digital that can be used oral, axillary, or rectal. I've not had any experience with the temporal one but would like to try it.

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