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What is the correct way to take an axillary temperature?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

An axillary temperature is measured in the axilla or armpit area. It is recommended to use a digital thermometer when taking an axillary temperature. To take an axillary temperature:

  • Remove any clothing on the arm being used.
  • Raise the patient’s arm.
  • Make sure the underarm area is dry. If the individual has visible deodorant, powder or lotion in the area, it needs to be removed with a dry cloth.
  • Turn on the thermometer and put a protective cover on the tip
  • Place the thermometer under the arm with the tip of the thermometer positioned in the pit of the axilla.
  • Bring the arm next to the body.
  • Hold the thermometer in place until the sound signals it is finished.
  • Remove the thermometer and read the temperature.
  • Clean the thermometer before putting it away.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.