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Define Various determinations that provide information about the patients basic body condition Often the first sign that there is a problem. Vital Signs. VITAL SIGNS. Temperature Pulse Respirations Blood Pressure. Other Vital Signs. Pain assessment Skin color Pupil size and reaction

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Vital Signs

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vital signs

Various determinations that provide information about the patients basic body condition

Often the first sign that there is a problem

Vital Signs
vital signs2
  • Temperature
  • Pulse
  • Respirations
  • Blood Pressure
other vital signs
Other Vital Signs
  • Pain assessment
  • Skin color
  • Pupil size and reaction
  • Level of consciousness
  • Response to stimuli
  • Measurement of the balance between heat loss and heat produce
  • Types
    • Oral - mouth
    • Rectal - rectum
    • Axillary - armpit
    • Aural (tympanic) – ear
heat produced and lost
Heat Produced

Metabolism of food

Muscle and gland activity

Heat Lost



Excretion of feces and urine

Heat Produced and Lost
normal body temperature
Normal Body Temperature
  • Normal range 97 – 100 degrees F
variations in normal body temperature
Lower in morning

Higher in evening

Eating or drinking anything hot or cold, smoking a cigarette or exercising in the last 15 minutes

Measured in degrees Celsius or degrees Fahrenheit

Variations in Normal Body Temperature
oral temperature
Oral Temperature
  • Taken in the mouth
  • Thermometer left in for 3-5 minutes
  • Most common, convenient, comfortable way to take temperature
  • Check for eating/drinking anything

hot/cold exercising or

smoking a cigarette

15 minutes prior

rectal temperature
Rectal Temperature
  • Taken in the rectum
  • Thermometer left in for 3-5 minutes
  • Most accurate
  • Insert 1-1 ½ inches, hold in place and screen patient for privacy
axillary groin temperature
Axillary/Groin Temperature
  • Taken under the armpit or in the groin fold
  • Thermometer left in for 8-10 minutes
  • Least Accurate
  • Dry armpit/groin, place in center and hold in place
aural tympanic temperature
Aural/Tympanic Temperature

- taken in the ear

- measures the thermal infrared energy radiating from the blood vessels in the eardrum

- position and ear wax can affect readings

-left in until it beeps

-temperature is calculated into an equivalent by mode

temperature by body site
Temperature By Body Site
  • Oral
    • Normal temp 98.6
    • Normal Range 97.6-99.6
  • Rectal
    • Normal temp 99.6
    • Normal Range 98.6-100.6
  • Axillary/groin
    • Normal temp 97.6
    • Normal Range 96.6-98.6
  • Tympanic
    • Normal temp 98.6
factors that increase temperature
Factors that Increase Temperature
  • Illness
  • Infection
  • Exercise
  • Excitement
  • High temps in the environment
factors that decrease temperature
Factors that Decrease Temperature
  • Starvation/fasting
  • Sleep
  • Decreased muscle activity
  • Mouth breathing
  • Exposure to cold temperatures
  • Certain diseases
temperature conditions
Temperature Conditions
  • Hyperthermia
    • Increased body temp
    • Body temp >104ºF
    • >106 ºF will cause convulsions and death
  • Fever
    • temp over 101 ºF R
    • Due to illness or injury
temperature conditions17
Temperature Conditions
  • Hypothermia
    • Body temp below

96 ºF

    • due to exposure to cold temperatures
    • Depends on core temperature, age and length of exposure
types of clinical thermometers
Types of Clinical Thermometers
  • Clinical thermometers
    • Slender glass tube containing

mercury or colored fluid

    • Types
      • Oral – blue tip, long slender bulb, marked oral
      • Security – plain tip
      • Rectal – red tip, short stubby bulb, marked rectal
mercury thermometers
Mercury Thermometers
  • Not used now
  • Colored column of red alcohol
  • Toxic to the body and environment
  • Can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled as a vapor through the lungs
  • Heavy metal that accumulates in the brain and causes mental retardation
clean up broken mercury thermometer
Clean up Broken Mercury Thermometer
  • Use appropriate PPE’s
  • Do not touch mercury
  • Seal in a glass container
  • Dispose according to


types of thermometers

Can be used for oral, rectal, or axillary

Blue probe for oral

Red probe for rectal

Disposable probe covers prevent cross-contamination

Types of Thermometers

- used to record temperature in the ear

- Records temperature in 1-3 seconds

positioning the patients ear for tympanic temperature
Positioning the Patients Ear for Tympanic temperature
  • Infants under 1 year
    • Pull ear pinna straight back
  • Infants over 1 year and adults
    • Pull ear pinna straight back and down
  • Positioning the pinna correctly straightens the auditory canal so the probe will point directly at the tympanic membrane
    • Pull ear pinna straight back and down
reading thermometers
Reading Thermometers
  • Digital thermometers

-until you hear the beep

•Tympanic thermometers

- hold in place for 2-3 seconds, remove and read

reading a glass thermometer
Reading a Glass Thermometer
  • Hold thermometer at eye level
  • Find the column of mercury/red liquid
  • Each long hash mark represents one degree
  • Each short hash mark represents 2/10th of a degree
  • Exception: long line at 986 ºF represent normal body temperature
charting a temperature
Charting a Temperature
  • Use a superscript to record 10th’s
  • 102.2 should be written as 102.2
  • This avoids errors
  • Use a TPR Chart
  • Mark temp under correct date and time
  • Indicate method of taking temperature

- R - rectal

- Ax – axillary

- T - tympanic

  • No abbreviation indicates an oral temp
clean a clinical thermometer
Clean A Clinical Thermometer
  • Use warm water to clean and rinse
  • Soak in a disinfecting solution such as alcohol for 20 minutes