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Temperature measurement

General information about body temperature and the classification of temperature values

Body temperature is the lowest temperature maintained by an organism at rest. It is measured directly after waking up, before any physical activity is started. If the measured value fits between 36.4 and 37.0°C it is considered normal.

Types of measurement

Temperature may be measured in various places: in the mouth, in the rectum, in the ear, in the vagina, on the skin of the forehead and in the armpit. Depending on the place of measurement, the range of normal values is different.

What is the measurement of temperature used for?

The measurement of body temperature is a simple operation, providing valuable information on the patient’s condition. It is also useful during the therapy of various diseases, in order to assess its effectiveness.

How should be temperature measured in a correct way?

If the measurement is taken in the armpit, the procedure should last for at least 5 minutes, and the tip of the thermometer should be in direct contact with the skin. It is also necessary to verify if the measuring equipment is efficient and working properly. The principle of the measurement depends on the type of thermometer. For that reason the operation manual of a device must be read and understood.

Factors affecting the result of the measurement.

The measurement result may be affected by numerous factors, including stress, hunger, heat, cold, physical exercise, cold or hot bath or fatigue. Drugs which are being taken are also important. The measurement may differ depending on climatic zones and seasons of the year. Measurements performed on subsequent days may differ by up to 0.5°C. The circadian rhythm is also very important. Body temperature is higher in the evening and drops in the morning. Moreover, our body temperature depends on gender and the phase of the menstrual cycle. It is lower during the first, pre-ovulation phase, compared to the second phase which occurs after ovulation. Also age is important – body temperature may be lower by 0.5°C in the elderly.

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