Comparison of measuring sites for the assessment of body temperature

Academic Article


  • INTRODUCTION: The use of measuring surface skin temperatute as a quick assessment or screening tool to predict elevated core temperature has progressed from parents feeling their child's forehead to elaborate infrared screening procedures to identify potentially febrile individuals for pandemic screening PURPOSE: The purpose of this investigation was to compare core temperature (oral, rectal esophageal, and tympanic) with skin temperature (axillary, inner canthi, forehead, and temporal) as influenced by differing environmental conditions. METHODS:Twenty-two college aged, healthy participants (11 males, 11 females) performed six trials at three ambient temperatures (15.5,21.1, or 26.6 0C /60,70,80 0F) and either 35% or 70% humidity. Participants wore similar clothing in all trials. The trials were performed at the same time each day with participants being equilibrated for at least 15 minutes before temperature measurements were obtained. There was a separation of at least 24 hours between each trial RESULTS: There were significant differences between core temperatures (rectal, esophageal, tympanic, and oral) observed for all environmental conditions. Tympanic temperature was the least consistent measurement of core temperature due to variations in both ambient temperature and humidity. Variations in ambient temperature and humidity had a significant affect on all skin surface sites. The axillary site showed the most consistent skin surface measurements, while the forehead and temporal sites were the least. The inner canthi measurements increased in a linear fashion (R2= 1) as the temperature of the environment increased. CONCLUSIONS: As environmental temperature increased, the variance associated with the measurement of each site decreased irrespective of the humidity. Rectal temperature was the highest and most consistent measurement of all core measures regardless of changes in environmental temperature and humidity. Axillary temperature provided the most consistent measurement of the skin surface sites. The inner canthus provided the best predictive non-contact measurement of skin surface sites across all trial conditions. Thus, the inner canthi may be useful in detecting individuals with high temperatures as a potential screening method for fever related pandemic diseases.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Author List

  • Pascoe DD; Fisher G
  • Start Page

  • 35
  • End Page

  • 42
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 2