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A Rectal Thermometer At My Age

Published: April 8, 2000
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am a 16 year old boy who would like to know about temperature taking. I am in high school and was recently let out early cause I had a sore throat and a cold. When I got home, my mom took my temperature and it read a little over 100. She took me to the emergency room. Using an electronic thermometer the nurse took my temperature orally and the thermometer read 99 or something. The nurse said she would try to get a reading using an ear thermometer. It didn't read good either. She said I couldn't hold my mouth closed long enough. I am 16 and can handle a lot of things, but what happened next took me by surprise. She asked me to strip down to my underwear and I didn't know what to expect. She came back with a rectal thermometer and explained the procedure. I was really nervous, but let her take it anyway. My fever was 102. I know it is more accurate and all, but is this standard procedure even at my age. I just want to know if the nurse was out of line. Thanks
Signed: A Rectal Thermometer At My Age

Dear A Rectal Thermometer At My Age,

 

You have given FX a great description of your latest illness and the events of the ER. Without talking to the nurse, we would say this is unusual. TeenHealthFX agrees that this must have been very embarrassing and upsetting for you. You are right to question it and her answer may have given information on why she took your temperature rectally. She may have felt that your temperature reading was inaccurate and this was going to be the only was to get an accurate reading.

It is a bit odd for a teenager to have their temperature taken rectally unless there is no other way to get a good reading. She may have had a very good reason for doing this though. Like we said, without finding out her thinking, TeenHealthFX does not want to make a judgment.

 

In the future, FX encourages you to ask questions of any doctor or nurse that is caring for you. It is important that you learn to communicate with medical professionals because you are in charge of your body. Try not to feel embarrassed or that you are taking over. Your body is yours, you are in charge! Ask questions and ask more if you do not like the answers.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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