Saturday, December 11, 2010

Nursing Procedure Taking Temperatures

What is Body temperature? Body temperature is the difference between heat produced and heat lost. The hypothalamus acts as the body’s thermostat to maintain a constant body temperature. The balance is maintained between the body’s heat producing functions (metabolism, shivering, muscle contraction, exercise, and thyroid activity) and the heat-losing functions (radiation, convection, conduction, and evaporation). When one temperature becomes greater than the other, temperature changes are seen; greater heat-producing functions result in temperature elevations (fever/hyperthermia), and greater heat losing functions result in temperature decreases (hypothermia).
Sites of measurement of Body temperature:

  • Core temperature true body temperature. Rectal, bladder, and tympanic temperatures are in general the most reliable sites for maesuring body temperature.
  • Sublingual convenient site to measuring body temperature. Tachypnea and consumption of hot or cold substances affect result. Best for intermittent measurement.
  • Axillary temperatures average 1.5° to 1.9°C lower than tympanic. The accuracy of axillary temperatures is affected by inability to maintain probe position.
  • Tympanic measured with specifically designed thermometer. In theory, correlates well with core temperature. In practice, correlates poorly because of difficulty performing the technique and technical malfunctions, with a high degree of user dissatisfaction.
  • Skin poor correlation with core temperature.


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