By Julie Aufdenkamp
Although I am the parent of two teenagers, I can still remember the times when they got sick as infants or toddlers. No matter what bug they contracted, their body temperatures would often soar to scary levels.
My vision loss had progressed to the point where I couldn’t read digital oral thermometers, let alone those old glass mercury ones. I had no sighted “reader” in the house, since my husband worked the night shift, which is the time fevers seem to be at their worst.
For the most part, the trusty cheek on forehead technique gave me the information I needed to determine if I should administer acetaminophen and/or a sponge bath. There were times, however, when I felt it was necessary to call our doctor or the ER nurse 10 miles away. They would want to know what the child’s body temperature reading was. Unfortunately, the cheek on forehead method does not spit out an exact reading. No, I couldn’t tell the doctor or nurse if the reading was 104 or 105. Maybe it was only 103 and I really didn’t need to find a way to take my daughter or son in to be evaluated.
Eventually I learned that I could purchase a talking body temperature thermometer at a very reasonable price (about $11). There are now talking ear thermometers for more money, but I actually prefer the oral thermometers. A reading can be taken by placing the probe under the tongue or under the arm (you should add a degree if using the under-the-arm method). The ear thermometers produce readings much quicker, but I believe the oral thermometers are more accurate with less chance for error.
This little piece of low-tech equipment has proven to be a valuable tool time and time again. It has provided me with an independent way to gather accurate information.