b. When an Oral Temperature Should Not Be Taken. There are conditions,
which indicate when an oral temperature should not be taken. (Conditions which
indicate that a certain procedure or treatment should not be performed are called
contraindications.) Do not measure the patient's temperature orally if one or more of the
following contraindications are present.
(1) The patient has recently had facial or oral surgery. (The patient may not
be able to adequately control his bite.)
(2) The patient is a child under 5 years of age. (An infant or very young
child should not be expected to follow a "don't bite down" order.)
(3) The patient is confused, disturbed, heavily sedated, or has some
condition (coughing, shaking chills, etc.) that makes it likely he might bite down on the
The patient is being administered oxygen by mouth or by nose.
(5) The patient has smoked, eaten hot or cold food, drank hot or cold
beverage, or chewed gum within the last 30 minutes. (Hot smoke, hot foods, hot drinks,
and vigorous chewing will probably result in an oral temperature reading that is higher
than the actual oral temperature. Cold foods and cold drinks will probably cause the
oral temperature reading to be lower than the actual oral temperature.)
2-18. HOW DO I TAKE AN ORAL TEMPERATURE WITH A GLASS
Use the following procedures when taking a patient's oral temperature.
a. Wash Hands. Perform a patient care hand wash.
b. Gather Materials. You will need to assemble the following items:
(1) Glass oral thermometer(s). You will normally obtain a tray of clean
(unused) thermometers, especially if you are going to take more than one patient's
temperature. Figure 2-7 shows a typical tray. (The term "tray" is used to mean all
equipment and supplies carried in the tray as well as the actual tray.) The tray shown
consists of a rectangular metal tray (8 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 2 inches deep), a
metal container labeled "clean" holding several unused oral thermometers, and a metal
container labeled "used" filled two-thirds full with water. Sometimes, the second
container is labeled "dirty" instead of "used."