Rectal temperatures for infants are advised because of their higher precisions. If you want to know how to take a rectal temperature of your baby, read into the coming up article and find out.
As we all know, the change in body temperature is the first symptom of any disease. This is because whenever, there is any abnormality inside the body, there is a temperature elevation that is observed. There are various routes by which this elevation in body temperature is checked such as; oral, tympanic and rectal. The oral method is when the thermometer is placed under the tongue, the tympanic means when it is inserted in the ear, and the rectal method is when the thermometer is inserted in the rectum of the infant.
Out of all these routes, the rectal temperature is the most precise and usually 1 degree higher than any other route. Usually, rectal temperatures are advised for infants, which include newborns to 12 month old babies. When these temperatures are over 100.4 degrees F, the infant is said to have a fever and should be treated instantly. Many new parents are afraid of taking rectal temperature because of the procedure, but you can be as gentle as needed.
What is Rectal Temperature?
The rectum is a part of the human digestive system, which is located at the terminal end of the large intestine. It is as long as 12 cms in humans and is a very useful part for taking the body temperature because of its presence inside the body. The temperature of the rectum is the closest to the core temperature that can be used to diagnose a fever and is recommended for infants. The rectal temperature is usually taken by a specific medical thermometer that should be inserted not more than 1 inch (25 mm) into the rectum through the anus of the child.
The normal body (rectal) temperature is about 97.6-100.4 degrees F (36-38 degrees C), where it is 1 degree F (0.5 degree C) more than the oral temperature and 2 degrees F (1 degree C) more than armpit temperature. Therefore, the rectal temperature is known to be more dependable than any other body temperature. In case of infants, it is very important to know the exact body temperature as their body is adjusting to the new environment and can experience elevations very often. Thus, physicians recommend rectal temperature for infants.
Taking a Rectal Temperature
There are two main reasons, why physicians advise rectal temperature in infants. First, because rectal temperature is the closest to the real body temperature, and could be accurate. Secondly, infants do not cooperate with the oral and axillary methods of taking the body temperature.
- Digital rectal thermometer
- Baby wipes
- Petroleum jelly
- In order to take the rectal temperature of your baby, you need to be calm and steady first. There is no need to panic. Because, if you do, you might hurt your child severely. So make sure you have a steady hand while taking the rectal temperature.
- Wash the digital thermometer with warm water and soap, so that it is free from bacteria when inserted in the rectum. Let it air dry for a few minutes.
- Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the tip, to make the insertion easy and painless. Once you have everything ready, then remove your baby’s diaper gently. You can distract your child by giving it a toy while you take the temperature.
- Hold the baby in one hand and clean your baby’s bottom with wipes. Then gradually insert the tip of the thermometer ½ inch inside the baby’s rectum, not too far.
- Keep the thermometer for about 3 minutes and once it beeps, gradually remove it and wipe the tip off. Also wipe your baby’s bottom, to comfort it from any pain. Stand the thermometer for a few seconds and then check the level of mercury. If the temperature is above 100.4 degrees F, your baby has fever.
With this information, hope you have learned the necessary tips for the same. Make sure you are very gentle and always use a helper initially to make sure your baby doesn’t move or get hurt. Taking rectal temperatures are an important part of childcare, and can be learned with practice.