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Should I Add a Degree When Using a Digital Thermometer?

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated April 18, 2017
Get accurate temperature results when your child is sick.

Why Add a Degree

Since digital thermometer readings can vary depending on where the temperature is taken, baby books and websites, such as iVillage, often recommend parents add a degree when taking a child’s temperature under the armpit. By adding a degree, you can estimate what your child’s temperature would be if taken orally or rectally and use that to help determine if she has a fever.

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When Not to Add a Degree

Do not add a degree when taking a temperature orally or rectally, which are the most accurate temperature readings. Also, do not add a degree when calling the doctor, even if you took it under the armpit. Rather, it’s better to tell the doctor the exact reading and where you took the temperature. This will prevent any confusion since he may not realize you added a degree.

Bottom Line

Add a degree when taking a temperature under the armpit, but not anywhere else. Also, ask at your next doctor’s appointment at what temperature, using a digital thermometer in the location you prefer (such as under the arm), you should be concerned and call the office.

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About the Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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