How to Use a Digital Thermometer

A man holds a digital thermometer
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20
What You'll Need
Soapy water
Antibacterial solution

Body temperature is a great indicator of health. Knowing how to use a digital thermometer properly will ensure you are able to take your temperature and see if something is wrong. Generally speaking, humans should have a temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If you find that your temperature is off by more than a degree or two, you may need to see a doctor. These steps will help you take your temperature correctly.

Step 1 - Prepare

Even if the digital thermometer has been stored prior to use, it is prudent to clean it before using it again. This can either be done in a solution of soapy water or by wiping it with a cloth that has been sprayed with an antibacterial solution. Wipe it with a paper tissue after it has been cleaned. This will ensure that any errant particles or germs remaining on the surface will be removed.

Step 2 - Switch it On

Switch on the digital thermometer before putting it near the mouth to make sure that it is working properly. The LCD screen should read "0" when it is initially switched on. If this does not occur or the screen remains blank, you may find that the battery needs to be replaced. Check the instruction manual to ensure that you get the correct replacement battery and that you fit it correctly. Only use the thermometer if the starting reading is correct.

Step 3 - Place the Thermometer

A woman looks at a digital thermometer.

Place the thermometer in the mouth by laying the tip on a middle point at the back of the tongue before closing the lips around it to hold the length of it. Avoid gripping it between the teeth as it is unnecessary and can cause the thermometer to lift off of the tongue.

Step 4 - Take Your Temperature

Once the digital thermometer is in the correct position, you will be able to press the button to make the appliance read the temperature. Depending on the model, this can take anything from a few seconds to a few minutes. Similarly, the model you are using will dictate whether it demonstrates its completion of the task with a beep or whether the result is simply displayed. At this point, you will be able to remove the thermometer from the mouth so that you can read the temperature.

You may be able to set the temperature according to degrees Celsius (C) or degrees Fahrenheit (F). The body’s normal temperature is 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, so you must take immediate action if the reading is above or below this. Even 2 degrees above a normal temperature can be the sign of a fever, while anything lower means that the patient’s body is failing to regulate its temperature. They will need to be kept warm with other methods until the underlying cause is found and rectified.

Step 5 - Clean Up

After you have finished using the thermometer, switch it off and clean it using the method that you used at the outset. Use a clean tissue to dry it thoroughly. A digital thermometer will often come with a protective case that has been designed to store it in and protect it from damage. Return it to the case before storing it.

By following these steps you will be able to take your temperature in no time.