Understanding Body Temperature and How to Measure It

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Understanding Body Temperature and How to Measure It
Understanding Body Temperature and How to Measure It

Body temperature is a measure of the body's ability to produce and get rid of heat. Body temperature can be affected by various things, such as ambient temperature. A person's high or low body temperature can also be an indicator of his he alth condition

A person's normal body temperature can change depending on the activities carried out or the condition of the person's body. However, normal body temperature is generally in the range of 36.5–37, 2o Celsius.

Understanding Body Temperature and How to Measure It - Alodokter

In addition to physical activity, changes in normal body temperature can also occur due to several other things, such as when a woman is entering her fertile period (ovulation) or during menstruation.

Is Low or High Body Temperature Dangerous?

Body temperature that is above or below the normal limit of course needs to be considered, because this could be a sign that someone is suffering from certain diseases. Here is the explanation:

Body temperature is too low

A body temperature that is too low is called hypothermia. This condition is dangerous because it can interfere with the smooth flow of blood, breathing, and the performance of vital organs of the body, such as the brain and heart. Hypothermia that is not treated immediately can even lead to death.

A person is said to be hypothermic if his body temperature is below 35o Celsius. One of the things that can cause this condition is when a person is exposed to cold temperatures or weather, including a night bath without warm water for babies.

In adults, hypothermia can cause symptoms in the form of chills, slurred speech, shortness of breath and slow, and dizziness. Over time, this condition can cause the sufferer to lose consciousness or coma.

In babies, hypothermia can cause symptoms in the form of weakness, fussiness, skin feels cold and looks reddish, and does not want to breastfeed.

To increase body temperature when cold due to hypothermia, wear thicker and warmer clothes and try to keep your body dry at all times. If possible, stay away from cold places and look for heat sources, such as fireplaces.

If you or those around you experience extreme drop in body temperature or hypothermia, immediately go to the nearest doctor or hospital for treatment.

High body temperature

The opposite of hypothermia, hyperthermia is a condition when the body temperature is more than 40o Celsius. Hyperthermia occurs when the body fails to regulate temperature, so the body temperature continues to rise.If the body temperature exceeds 41, 1o Celsius, this condition is called hyperpyrexia.

Hyperthermia is different from fever. Fever is an increase in temperature that is completely controlled by the body's temperature regulation system, while hyperthermia is an increase in body temperature beyond the control of that system.

Fever can be caused by infections, such as bacterial and viral infections. Meanwhile, hyperthermia is generally caused by heatstroke, which is a condition when a person cannot cool his body effectively when in a hot environment.

Sustained high body temperature can cause severe dehydration and permanent damage to organs, such as the brain. Therefore, this condition requires immediate medical attention.

Adults with a body temperature of 39, 4o Celsius and children with a body temperature of 38o Celsius are advised to get checked out immediately to the doctor.

How to Measure Body Temperature

Body temperature cannot be known just by touching. You need to use a thermometer to measure body temperature accurately. There are several types of thermometers that can be used to assess body temperature, including:

1. Ear thermometer

As the name implies, this small cone-shaped thermometer is used in the ear. Body temperature can generally be seen on a digital screen in just seconds.

2. Mercury thermometer

Conventional type of thermometer made of glass and mercury. This thermometer is the cheapest and easiest to find, but it is not safe to use because it can break and release toxic mercury.

3. Electronic thermometer

Electronic thermometers are made of plastic and have a pencil-like tip. Besides being able to be used in various areas of the body, such as the armpit, mouth, or rectum (anus), this type of thermometer is also easy to use and read.

4. Forehead thermometer

Forehead thermometer uses skin temperature to determine body temperature. This thermometer has a thin shape and can only be used by sticking it on the forehead.

5. Temporal artery thermometer

This thermometer is almost similar to a forehead thermometer which is used on the forehead to measure body temperature.

6. Disposable thermometer

This type of thermometer can only be used once in the mouth or rectum. Disposable thermometers can also be used to measure the baby's temperature continuously for 48 hours. This thermometer is safe, but not as accurate as electronic and ear thermometers.

7. Dot thermometer

As the name implies, this thermometer is shaped like a baby pacifier and is used by placing it in the baby's mouth. The dot thermometer is less effective and efficient, because it takes a long time for the results to appear and is not as accurate as other types of thermometers.

The Cause of Inaccurate Thermometer

Sometimes the results of measuring body temperature by a thermometer can be inaccurate due to several things, such as:

  • The thermometer is not used on the right body part.
  • The thermometer is lifted too quickly from the body.
  • The thermometer battery is weak or dead.
  • How to use the thermometer incorrectly or not according to the instructions for use.
  • The mouth is open when taking body temperature orally (by mouth).
  • The assessment of body temperature is carried out after strenuous exercise or hot showers.

Body temperature is one of the vital function checks, in addition to blood pressure and pulse. Therefore, always keep a thermometer at home as a first step to assess your body condition, especially when you feel unwell or have a fever.

If your body temperature is abnormal, either too low or high, and you experience certain symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor to determine the cause and get the right treatment.

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