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How to Take an Under-the-Arm Temperature

by | Aug 9, 2023

Taking an under-the-arm temperature is a common way to check if a child has a fever. KidsStreet Urgent Care is here to instruct you on how to take an armpit/axillary temperature, as well as how you should interpret the results accurately. 

Benefits Of Taking Axillary Temperatures

Fevers in Kids are difficult enough without struggling to actually take their temperature. Taking an under-the-arm temperature is a great way to read your child’s temperature with ease! 

Although taking an under-the-arm temperature may not be as accurate as taking an oral temperature or rectal temperature, they may be the best option for children who are unable to hold thermometers in their mouth or refuse to get it taken rectally. 

This method is minimally invasive and is acceptable for children of all ages. 

Acceptable Thermometers 

When taking an axillary temperature, it is highly recommended that you use a digital thermometer as they are the safest method and give the most accurate temperature readings. 

However, you can use a glass thermometer if you do not have a digital one. These are considered more dangerous as they could break, and they also may take a while to get the temperature reading. 

Please be aware that using a mercury thermometer is strongly warned against and could result in mercury poisoning if it breaks. Replace your mercury thermometer immediately if you still have one. 

Additionally, an ear thermometer for reading ear temperatures and a forehead thermometer for forehead temperatures are not acceptable thermometers for checking under-the-arm temperatures. 

How To Take An Armpit Temperature

There are a few simple steps you should follow when taking an armpit temperature. These steps include: 

  • Ensure your child has not taken a warm bath or been under blankets before checking for a fever, as this could raise their body temperature. 
  • Remove your child’s shirt.
  • Insert the tip of the thermometer into the child’s armpit, and have them cross their arms across their chest to ensure the thermometer stays in place. 
  • Hold the thermometer under the armpit for about ten seconds or until the thermometer beeps.
  • Once you have held it under the arm for long enough, remove the thermometer and read the temperature. 

Axillary temperatures over 99ºF are considered to be a fever. 

Turn To KidsStreet Urgent Care

Is your child facing a stubborn fever? KidsStreet Urgent Care can help! We offer treatment for fevers in our urgent care services for kids

To visit our kid-focused clinic, register online! You will be able to wait from the comfort of your home or vehicle until we’re ready for you. 

Walk-ins are always welcome, but please be aware that we highly recommend registering online ahead of your visit. Online registration reduces in-clinic wait times.

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