How do I use a digital armpit thermometer?

  • Mother checking baby's temperaturePlace the tip of the thermometer in an armpit. Make sure the armpit is dry.
  • It must be touching skin only, not clothing.
  • Close the armpit by holding the elbow against the chest. Keep the thermometer in your armpit until the digital thermometer beeps. Remove the thermometer after you hear the signal and read the temperature on the screen. (If you use mercury type, do not remove it before 4 minutes have passed.)
  • Your child has a fever if the armpit temperature is over 99°F (37.2°C). If you’re not sure if it is correct, check it by taking a rectal temperature.
  • Don’t take a child’s temperature right after a bath, this can affect the temperature reading.
  • Don’t leave a child unattended while taking a temperature.

An axillary reading is generally 1 degree Fahrenheit (about 0.5 degree Celsius) lower than an oral and rectal reading.


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