When a child is not feeling well, the natural thing to do will be to put one’s hand on the forehead to find out if the body is normal or not. The only way to get an accurate reading will be to use a thermometer and if this goes above 37 degrees Celsius, then the kid has a fever.
Traditionally, this instrument is made of glass with mercury inside and numbers on the sides. The parent will place this under the armpit, mouth or rectum for a few minutes to determine the kid’s temperature.
This type of thermometer is calibrated using mercury to get the patient’s temperature. Since these are no longer being used, other models have taken its place such as the digital, the ear or the disposable thermometer.
Digital and ear thermometers are calibrated to give an exact reading using infrared sensors. Batteries power these instruments so this has to be checked every time to get an accurate reading.
Disposable thermometers are calibrated to do the same thing in the form of dots. The parent can apply this in the mouth or in the rectum. A change in color could mean the kid has a fever. This should be thrown away after getting a reading so a new one will have to be used a few hours later to see if there is any improvement.
Other industries also use calibration when getting readings in equipment. This will depend on the standards set by the governing body just like the ones used by the doctor.
The use of any of the thermometer is not painful and may cause a little discomfort for the child. It is a good thing that a fever is not that serious and this can be remedied by wearing light clothing, blankets and drinking plenty of liquids.
However, if the child’s temperature is around 39 or 40 degrees Celsius, it will be a good idea to call a doctor. This person will be able to say whether the kid will have to be confined in the hospital or it is safe to do everything at home. In most cases, the specialist will recommend either acetaminophen or ibuprofen to break the fever.
There are many causes of fever and this could be an allergic reaction to medication or an infection from an injury. Parents should stay calm and use a calibrated thermometer to get the temperature before deciding to self medicate or call the doctor.
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