Temperature pulse

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An instrument for measuring temperature.


It is usually made of a sealed glass tube, marked in degrees of Celsius or Fahrenheit.


It has a liquid, as mercury or alcohol.


The liquid rises or falls as it expands or contracts according to changes in temperature.


Some kinds of thermometers are clinical thermometer, digital thermometerInfrared Ear Thermometer and electronic thermometer.


                   Infrared Ear Thermometer                               


      Clinical thermometer                            Infrared Ear Thermometer                     Digital thermometer





 Mercury thermometers


A mercury thermometer is a glass tube with a bulb at one end that contains mercury.


A scale on the tube shows degrees of temperature, with an arrow marking the normal point of 98.6o F.


The bulb is placed under the tongue or in the armpit.


As the mercury is heated, it rises up the tube to a point that shows the person's temperature.


To read a thermometer, hold it at eye level in good light and rotate it slowly until you see the thin silver line of mercury.


 Oral temperature


The most accurate reading is done with an oral temperature.


However, taking an oral temperature requires cooperation so do not attempt this method with young children or anyone who is not conscious and cooperative.


 Axillary temperature


A regular thermometer can also be used under the arm. Authorities advise against taking temperatures rectally, even in children.


 Normal temperature


Although 98.6o F is considered the "normal" oral temperature, a healthy person's temperature actually ranges from about 97o F to 99.5o F during a 24-hour period. Underarm temperature is 1o or 2o lower than oral readings.



Never leave a child alone, even for a while, with a mercury thermometer! Injury can occur from broken glass, and mercury is a poison.



Using a thermometer

Oral temperature


First, clean the thermometer with soap and then rinse it with cool tap water. Hot water will cause the thermometer to break.


Hold the thermometer at the end opposite the mercury bulb and shake it a few times to make the mercury go below the arrow.


To take an oral temperature, place the bulb of the thermometer under the tongue as far toward the back as possible.


Have the person close his or her mouth and hold the thermometer in place for 4 to 5 minutes.


 Axillary temperature


To take an underarm temperature, place the bulb of the thermometer snugly in an armpit and have the person keep the upper arm clasped tightly to the side, with the elbow bent and the lower arm folded across the chest.


Leave the thermometer in place for 10 minutes.



After you're done, wash the thermometer again with soap and cool water and shake it to return the mercury to the bulb.




Electronic Thermometers

  • It is now common to measure temperature with electronics. The most common sensor is a thermo resistor (or thermistor).




This device changes its resistance with changes in temperature. A computer or other circuit measures the resistance and converts it to a temperature, either to display it or to make decisions about turning something on or off.



Two temperature scales are in common use in medical science.

  • The degree Celsius (C) scale was devised by dividing the range of temperature between the freezing and boiling temperatures of pure water at standard atmospheric conditions (sea level pressure) into 100 equal parts. Temperatures on this scale were at one time known as degrees centigrade, however it is no longer correct to use that terminology. [In 1948 the official name was changed from "centigrade degree" to "Celsius degree" by the 9th General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM).]

  • The degree Fahrenheit (F) non-metric temperature scale was devised and evolved over time so that the freezing and boiling temperatures of water are whole numbers, but not round numbers as in the Celsius temperature scale.


Common temperature comparisons



degrees Celsius

degrees Fahrenheit




boiling point of water



average human body temperature



average room temperature

20. to 25.

68. to 77.

melting point of ice




Temperature conversions between the temperature scales:

degree Fahrenheit / degree Celsius conversions (exact):



degrees F = degrees C x 1.8 + 32.


degrees C = (degrees F - 32.) / 1.8







                   Picture of a woman looking at her watch while feeling for her pulse                       Picture of a woman checking her pulse for a full minute


  • Rhythmic beating or vibrating movement.

  • The regular opening and contraction of an artery caused by the movement of blood from the heart as it contracts.

  • The effect is easily found on arteries, as the wrist (radial) and under the chin (carotid) arteries. The pulse matches each beat of the heart.

  • The normal number of pulse beats per minute in the average adult is from 60 to 100.

  • Differences may be caused by exercise, injury, illness, and emotions.

  • The average pulse rate for a newborn baby is 120 beats per minute. It slows throughout childhood and adolescence.

  • Girls, beginning about 12 years of age, and women have higher rates than boys and men.


How to do a Pulse Check


Your pulse is taken by touching one of several "pulse points" located on your body. These spots are areas where the arteries are near enough to the surface of the skin that the movement of blood through them can be felt. You can actually feel your artery expand and contract. Since the artery keeps pace with the heart, doctors can measure heart rate by counting the contractions of the artery.



Don a watch (or look at a clock) with a sweep second hand.


Run your index and middle fingers along your thumb line until you reach the bend in your wrist.


Gently press down until you feel your pulse.


Begin counting pulsations and continue to count for one full minute. Your pulse should feel strong and regular and have a steady beat (rhythm).


What is a normal pulse rate?

A normal pulse rate is between 60 to 100 beats per minute and is strong and regular. If your pulse is irregular or if it is too fast or too slow, notify your doctor or healthcare practitioner.


   Average Pulse Rates

  • Adult Males                 about 72

  • Adult Females             76 to 80

  • Newborns                    up to 140

  • Children                      about 90

  • Elderly                         50 to 65


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