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Measuring Body Temperature
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Measuring Body Temperature
Body temperature is a measure of the body's ability to create and eliminate heat in order to maintain optimum operating temperature and is referred to as thermoregulation. Internal body temperature is strictly regulated in order to maintain normal chemical reactions and cellular function. An increase or decrease of internal body temperature by more than 4° Celsius can produce devastating effects on the human body. Common factors that influence body temperature are as follows:
  • Age and gender
  • Emotional status
  • Time of day
  • Site of measurement
  • Air temperature (environment)
  • Injury to hypothalamus
  • Infection/ illness (increases temperature)
  • Activity (increases temperature)
  • Menstrual cycle (higher at time of ovulation)
  • Eating and drinking (oral temp)
  • Smoking (oral temp)
The American Medical Association (AMA) defines the range of normal body temperature from 97.80 ° F to 99.0 ° F (36.5 °C to 37.2 °C). Fever, or pyrexia, is defined as a body temperature that is higher than the individual’s normal steady state. A fever is defined by the AMA as an oral temperature above 98.6°F or 99.8°F rectally, and hypothermia is defined as a drop of body temperature below 95.0°F. This section of the vital signs study guide will describe oral, rectal, axillary, and tympanic measurements of body temperature.
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Section: Body Temperature
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