Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Evaluation taking temperatures Treatment Home Care medications vomiting warning signs Underlying Cause Types

Fever in Adolescents Taking Temperatures

An oral temperature is the easiest method to obtain an accurate temperature in an adult.

Oral Method
The thermometer must be placed under the tongue with the lips closed. Most digital thermometers will beep when the temperature has been determined and the thermometer can be removed.

A glass (mercury) thermometer should be left inside the mouth for a full three minutes before reading. If performed correctly, oral temperatures can be very reliable. Oral temperatures normally vary anywhere from 97.5 to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a little lower than the core body temperature.

Oral temperature should not be taken for at least 20-30 minutes after drinking a hot or cold liquid, smoking, or eating. Wait at least one hour after taking a hot (or cold) shower or bath prior to measuring body temperature.

Rectal Method
This method is the most accurate and should be the only method used to assess body temperature in people who cannot cooperate with an oral method. A well lubricated (e.g. KY jelly, Vaseline) rectal thermometer should be inserted gently into the rectum no more than 1/2 to 1 inch. Rectal temperatures are very safe and are not harmful. Do not use oral thermometers rectally. Rectal temperatures tend to run about 1 degree Fahrenheit above oral temperatures.

Wait at least one hour after taking a hot (or cold) shower or bath prior to measuring body temperature.

Continue to Fever in Adolescents Treatment

Last Updated: Mar 17, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Fever in Adolescents References
  1. Cooper RJ, Hoffman JR, Bartlett JG, Besser RE, Gonzales R, Hickner JM, Sande MA; American Academy of Family Physicians; American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine; Centers for Disease Control. Principles of appropriate antibiotic use for acute pharyngitis in adults: background. Ann Intern Med. 2001 Mar 20;134(6):509-17. [11255530]
  2. Cunha BA. Fever of unknown origin: clinical overview of classic and current concepts. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2007 Dec;21(4):867-915, vii. [18061081]
  3. D'Acremont V, Ambresin AE, Burnand B, Genton B; Travel clinic, Medical Outpatient Clinic, University of Lausanne, Rue Bugnon 44, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland. Practice guidelines for evaluation of Fever in returning travelers and migrants. J Travel Med. 2003 May;10 Suppl 2:S25-52. [12740187]
  4. Knockaert DC. Recurrent fevers of unknown origin. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2007 Dec;21(4):1189-211, xi. [18061093]
  5. Mayo J, Collazos J, Martinez E. Fever of unknown origin in the setting of HIV infection: guidelines for a rational approach. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 1998 May;12(5):373-8. [11361973]
  6. O'Grady NP, Barie PS, Bartlett JG, Bleck T, Garvey G, Jacobi J, Linden P, Maki DG, Nam M, Pasculle W, Pasquale MD, Tribett DL, Masur H. Practice guidelines for evaluating new fever in critically ill adult patients. Task Force of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis. 1998 May;26(5):1042-59. [9597223]
  7. Perrone J, Hollander JE, Datner EM. Emergency Department evaluation of patients with fever and chemotherapy-induced neutropenia. J Emerg Med. 2004 Aug;27(2):115-9. [15261351]
  8. Pugh RN, Omar RI, Hossain MM. Varicella infection and pneumonia among adults. Int J Infect Dis. 1998 Apr-Jun;2(4):205-10. [9763503]
  9. Roth AR, Basello GM. Approach to the adult patient with fever of unknown origin. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Dec 1;68(11):2223-8. [14677667]
  10. Tolia J, Smith LG. Fever of unknown origin: historical and physical clues to making the diagnosis. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2007 Dec;21(4):917-36, viii. [18061082]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.