Measuring Core Body Temperature

Measuring core body temperature is becoming an effective tool for studies and research in human health. There are certain safe and effective ways to measure it. The following gives an insight on the most common ways of measurement. Have a look.
WellnessKeen Staff
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
The human body is a mystery, and science has made successful efforts with the help of studies and research to know and understand the mechanism and nature of the anatomy of the human body. When conducting research, there are many observations and experiments that make conclusions and help understand the chemical, physical and other aspects in the body. Measuring core body temperature is also among the important practices that helps diagnostics and other related research in the field of health and science. It is defined as the temperature and the physical state of the body where the functioning of the internal organs and systems is optimum and most efficient. It is also known as the temperature of the internal organs of the body. The ideal temperature of the body is defined to be 98.6° Fahrenheit or 37.7° Celsius. There are various conditions that affect the core body temperature to be variable in different individuals. It will completely depend on the time when the temperature is taken, and the rate of metabolism or the rate of consuming energy of the body. So an exact measurement cannot be considered as body temperature for all people. Controlling this temperature is important because it directly affects the chemical reactions taking place in the body. High temperature can create complications. With an imbalance in this temperature, the body functions will be affected. Measuring this temperature hence is important.

How to Measure Core Body Temperature

Our body will not have a uniform temperature in all the parts. The temperature is known to vary in different parts of the body. Also, the time when the temperature is taken affects the readings. Conditions like cold, hunger, sleepiness, etc., also affect the temperature. The temperature in women is also affected with conditions like menstruation and pregnancy.

Body temperature is checked in certain areas of the body. Rectum, axillary (arm), tympanic (ear), oral, forehead, temporal artery, gut (alimentary canal) and vagina, are some of the common areas for measuring body temperature. Studies have observed that the body temperature slightly varies with the area of measuring the temperature. There are many different ways to check and measure this temperature. We all know of the traditional old way of checking temperature with a thermometer. But in certain and severe cases, and for experimental research and study, there is a need to check the temperature in various ways, and also different areas. Let us check the procedure of each.
  • Oral temperature is a traditional way of checking. A regular thermometer or a digital thermometer can be used by placing this in the mouth under the tongue.
  • Tympanic or ear temperature is also used to read temperatures. A device that is specially designed for taking ear temperature is inserted into the ear canal. After observation, the device is removed. The tympanic membrane temperature is measured as core body temperature here. However, this device does not directly touch the tympanic membrane, so the reading is based on the air in the ear canal, and an average of the tympanic membrane temperature, the radiation of heat in the canal, blood flow, etc.
  • Measuring with ingestible thermometers is also another way that is being used for accurate measurement. Here, the thermometer is designed as a pill. This is ingested by the patient, and should remain in the gastrointestinal tract for measurement. Signals from the pill are transmitted to a device outside the body that picks up the readings of the temperature.
  • Axillary temperature is taken by placing a thermometer under the armpit. It is safe and easy though. However, this type of measuring temperature is not considered reliable as the readings are affected by the surrounding air temperature, sweat, skin temperature, and blood flow in the skin. An axillary reading will be comparatively low as compared to the readings from other areas.
  • Rectal temperature is usually taken by inserting a thermometer or another reading device in the rectum. After a few minutes, the reading is taken. It is considered one of the most accurate methods for measuring body temperature.
  • Temporal or forehead temperature reading is also used to determine body temperature. A strip or sticker that is designed to measure heat in the body is placed on the forehead. And it is kept still for some time. This strip is placed on the temporal artery, and hence is supposedly considered to be influenced by outdoor heat like solar radiation, blood flow in the skin, and skin temperature. But if the blood flow of the patient is normal and regulated, this can give accurate readings.
All these methods are used to check and observe core body temperature. Some of the methods may be uncomfortable for the patient. However, there are no major risks with these methods. There are a number of factors too that affect temperature reading. The device itself, if not accurate, may give you incorrect readings. Not following instructions for the device, placing the device incorrectly, and not keeping the device for the appropriate time too can cause incorrect measurement.

Core body temperature measurement is vital, as it helps in diagnosis that can help in balancing and maintaining the internal body temperature, which makes for a healthy and efficiently functioning body.