TAKING AN ORAL TEMPERATURE
Oral glass mercury thermometer
- Wash your hands.
- Rinse thermometer in cold water if kept in a chemical solution, and wipe dry with tissue. Rationale: chemical taste is bitter
- Grasp thermometer with thumb and forefinger and shake vigorously by flicking wrist in downward motion to lower mercury level to below 95-960
- Check temperature reading on thermometer
- Explain procedure to the patient
- Place thermometer in patient’s mouth under tongue and ask patient to hold lips closed
- Leave in place 3 to 5 minutes
- Remove thermometer and wipe it with tissue from fingers down to bulb. Discard tissue
- Read temperature by rotating thermometer until the mercury level is clearly visible. Shake thermometer down and replace in bedside container.
- Wash hands
- Records patient’s temperature according to hospital procedure
NOTE: clinical alert
Temperature varies with time of day: highest at 5-7 PM and lowest between 2-6 AM. This is termed circadian thermal rhythm.