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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
To use the table:
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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