You can take a temperature using the mouth (oral), anus (rectal), armpit (axillary), or ear (tympanic). But the temperature readings vary depending on which one you use, and you need an accurate body temperature to determine if a fever is present.
Medical research hasn't determined an exact correlation between oral, rectal, ear, armpit, and forehead temperature measurements. Generally, the correlation of temperature results are as follows:
It is important to remember:
When you talk with your doctor about your temperature, be sure to say what method was used to take the temperature.
The temperature comparison table below will give you the range of temperature correlation with the different methods used to take a temperature. For information about taking accurate temperatures in infants and children, see the topic Body Temperature.
To use the table:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerDavid Messenger, MD
Current as ofMarch 20, 2017
Current as of: March 20, 2017
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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