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Foundations Skills For Midwifery Essay

1243 words - 5 pages

MEASURINGBODY TEMPERATURE As humans we are able to maintain our body temperature at a constant level, out with the temperature around us. Most of the time we are not conscious of our own body temperature. The control of body temperature comes from a special regulating centre in the brain, which balances the amount of heat, produced and lost by the body. Although body temperature remains fairly constant within the range of normal; which is 36 - 37.5 C, it must be remembered that variations occur between individuals at different stages of our lives and under different circumstances. The aim of measuring body temperature is to identify any deviations from the range of normal, and ...view middle of the document...

An excess production of the hormone Thyroxin increases the body's metabolic rate, which in turn increases the body's temperature. On the other hand a decrease in the production of Thyroxin decreases the metabolic rate, decreasing the body's temperature. Extremes of emotions can affect the metabolic rate also, causing slight increases or decreases in the temperature. Excitement, anger is two of the types of emotions, which can raise the temperature and depression or apathy, may cause it to drop. A high reading of body temperature is called Pyrexia; a low reading of body temperature is called Hypothermia. These two conditions have their extremes, which can lead to the death of a patient, and these ranges are roughly 25 C and 45 C. Pyrexia exists when the body temperature rises above the range of normal; that is above 37.5 C. Pyrexia is most commonly a symptom of infection, diseases of the nervous system or a metabolic disorder. It has been suggested that the reason Pyrexia is associated with infection is to help the body combat infection, this is due to the fact that bacteria are less likely to survive, and helps the production of immune bodies. Hypothermia exists when the body temperature drops below the range of normal; that is below 36 C. The most significant feature of hypothermia is that even when the body is well covered it can feel extremely cold to the touch, also the skin begins to look waxy and the face begins to look swollen. As mentioned before the metabolic rate lowers and with this the breathing becomes slower and more shallow and also a drop in the heart rate. The equipment used to measure temperature has changed from the clinical glass thermometers, which are no longer used because of the mercury that they contain, to the updated and most commonly used electronic thermometers. The advantages of these electric thermometers are that they are very accurate and can register a reading in just a few seconds. This means it is more convenient for the user and also for the patient. Accurate measurement of the body temperature is essential in giving indications to any illness. To find an accurate reading you must use reliable instruments, and also to place the instrument in the correct position for the required amount of time, also you need to read the thermometer accurately. There are a few sites where you can take the patient's temperature from; the oral site, the axillary site and the rectal site. The first thing to do when dealing with patients...

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