(2) The other (stem) end of the oral thermometer is colored blue. Color-
coding thermometers lets you tell an oral thermometer from a rectal thermometer
b. Glass Rectal Thermometers.
(1) The bulb of a rectal thermometer is short and thick in order to protect the
rectum (figure 2-5 B ). A long, slender bulb tip could accidentally injure the patient by
penetrating the walls of the rectum. A blunt tipped thermometer is much less likely to
damage the rectum. Remember, a thermometer with a long and slender bulb is
definitely an oral thermometer while a thermometer with a short and thick bulb could be
either an oral thermometer or a rectal thermometer.
(2) The stem end of a rectal thermometer is color-coded red. (Remember,
the two R's--red and rectal--go together.)
c. Electric Thermometer Probes. Electric thermometers come with two
different sensing devices (probes). One probe is designated as an oral probe while the
other is designated as a rectal probe. The oral probe is color-coded blue while the
rectal probe is color coded red. The oral probe and the rectal probe have the same
shape and size. The color-coding is simply to prevent a probe from being used to take
a temperature rectally one time and a temperature orally the next.
2-16. WILL I GET THE SAME TEMPERATURE READINGS FOR ORAL, AXILLARY,
AND RECTAL TEMPERATURES?
As indicated in paragraph 2-3i, the location where the temperature is taken
causes a slight difference in a patient's temperature reading. Suppose you were to
measure a patient's oral, axillary, and rectal temperature at the same time. The axillary
temperature reading would be about 1 F (0.6 C) lower than the oral temperature
reading while the rectal temperature reading would be about 1 F (0.6 C) higher than
the oral temperature reading (figure 2-6).
This example is given in order to illustrate a point. You do not take a patient's
temperature three different ways at the same time.