Axillary and Tympanic Temperature Measurement in Children and Normal Values for Ages

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Abstract

Aim

The aim of the study was define the normal values of tympanic and axillary body temperature in healthy children.

Methods

This observational cross-sectional study was performed in healthy children aged 0 to 17 years who visited the ambulatory general pediatric of Istanbul Medical Faculty.

Results

Of 1364 children, 651 (47.7%) were girls and 713 were boys, the mean (SD, range) age was 72.5 (53.6, 1–204) months. The mean (SD) axillary body temperature was 36.04°C (0.46°C; minimum, 35.0°C; maximum, 37.6°C). The 95th and 99th percentiles were 36.8°C and 37.0°C, respectively. The mean (SD) tympanic body temperature was 36.91°C (0.46°C; minimum, 35.15°C; maximum, 37.9°C). The 95th and 99th percentiles were 37.6°C and 37.8°C, respectively. There were statistically significant differences between sexes for only tympanic body temperatures. Both axillary and tympanic body temperatures were statistically higher in 0 to 2 months compared with other age groups. For this age group, the 99th percentile was 37.5°C for axillary and 37.85°C for tympanic temperature.

Conclusions

Axillary and tympanic body temperatures should be considered as fever when they are more than 37.0°C and 37.8°C, respectively. For 0 to 2 months, fever is 37.5°C and 37.85°C in axillary and tympanic temperatures, respectively.

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