Measuring Body Temperature

Oct 24

The body temperature is an easy way to gauge the health of the body. It is a measurement of the body’s ability to generate and get rid of heat in order to keep vital functions stable and within a healthy range. While body temperature can be taken at multiple points on the body, some access points are more accurate than others.


Body temperature has a large effect on the size of the blood vessels in the body. When the body is hot, the blood vessels expand and expel excess heat through the skin, in the form of sweat, to help the body stay cool. When the body is cold, the blood vessels constrict to trap body heat inside. This mechanism is responsible for involuntary actions such as shivering to get more of the blood pumping through the body.

The most common places to take body temperature are the following: by inserting a thermometer into the mouth, the ears, or the bottom (rectum). A rectal or ear temperature reading is generally a higher reading than oral or other areas of the body, making these two methods the most accurate (although also the most intrusive) for the determination of heat in the body.


Another effective (and infinitely less invasive) way to measure body temperature is through the forehead. In the case of a fever, most of us are familiar with the forehead touch from a friend or relative to see if we are hotter in comparison to the healthy person in a normal state. Indeed, this has been the go-to method for a long time, and for good reason. Forehead measurements are more accurate than taking external temperature at any other point in the body because it is close to major blood vessels, which help determine body temperature accurately. In a more scientific setting, forehead temperature is generally taken using infrared technology. Two measurements are taken: the highest value on the forehead, and the ambient temperature. The difference between these two numbers is identified as the body temperature.


Taking body temperature readings regularly helps us identify the normal range, thus making it easier to know when the body is in need of care. Although there are more accurate internal methods to take body temperature, the forehead reading, with the help of modern tools, is a proven alternative that is convenient, less intrusive, and time-saving.

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