Whether you’re dealing with a sudden wave of chills and aches and pains, or you just feel a little* hotter than usual, the desire to know if you have a fever ASAP is understandable. How to Check Temperature Without Thermometer general.
After all, a fever tends to serve as an indicator that your body is finding something off (like a virus or a bacterial infection) and trying to return to its normal.
But if you don’t have a thermometer lying around, or the only one you could find was buried deep in some bathroom drawer and you’re not sure just how long it’s been in there, you might be wondering:
Is there any legit (or a minimum of somewhat legit) thanks to gauging whether your temperature is above normal without a thermometer? Read on to learn what to do if you’re feeling feverish, no matter your thermometer situation, with insight from immunology docs.
Do you need a Thermometer to Tell if you have a Fever?
The only thanks to knowing needless to say that you simply have a fever (meaning a temp above 99 to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.2 to 37.5 degrees Celsius) is by taking your temperature with a thermometer, confirms David Erstein, MD, an allergist, and immunologist based in New York.
Unfortunately, your chances of accurately guessing whether or not you’ve got a fever without a thermometer are fair at the best, he says. Case in point: Patients who self-reported feeling feverish at a rural teaching hospital in India had a 58 percent chance of *actually* having a fever, according to a study in Tropical Medicine and International Health.
1. Use the rear of Your Hand, Not Your Palm
When you think you’re running a fever, you’ll probably ask someone to feel your forehead. That’s not too far off, experts say. “The commonest thanks to checking if someone features a fever without a thermometer is to feel the forehead or neck with the rear of your hand,” Lee says. “Check to ascertain if it feels warmer than usual.
Do not use the palm, as it is not as sensitive to temperature changes as the back of the hand is.” Beverly Hills concierge medicine physician Dr. Ehsan Ali, M.D., tells Bustle that a major spike in body temperature is a giveaway. “You can tell if someone features a fever if you’re significantly warmer to the touch, everywhere the body, not just the forehead/face.
Other signs include redness or flushing of the cheeks/face.” Ali also notes that if the change in temperature occurs with feelings of extreme fatigue, there’s a good chance it’s a fever.
It’s easier if you can get a friend, roommate, or family member to check your forehead, but you can try yourself, too. It’s nowhere near as accurate as taking your temperature, but it can help you get a sense of if you’re sick or not.
2. Look at Your Cheeks
You can get another hint about whether you’re running a fever by looking in the mirror. “Another way to check if someone has a fever is to see if their skin (especially the cheeks) appears to be redder than usual. A fever can cause the cheeks to become flushed or red,” Lee says. If you notice this, it might be because your body is in battle mode.
“It could indicate the body is within the middle of fighting something,” Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. A cold washcloth might bring temporary relief, but if you’re feeling seriously flushed, it’s always safer to call a doctor.
3. Take a Peek at Your Pee
Fevers can cause dehydration. But you might not realize how much water you have (or haven’t) been drinking if you’re sick in bed. “If you’re running a temperature, it’s important to drink many fluids.
The elevated temperature increases metabolism, and you can quickly become dehydrated,” Dr. Celine Thum, M.D., head medical director to a team of doctors at ParaDocs Worldwide, Inc., tells Bustle.
Check In With Your Pain Levels: How to Check Temperature Without Thermometer
Thum, Backe, and Lee all say that headaches and body aches, too, are potential signs of a fever. So if you have aches and pains that don’t correspond with any injuries or a headache that’s going alongside sweats or fatigue, you could be running a temperature.
Luckily, the same medicine that can help with your aches and pains can help regulate the fever itself. “Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen will also help decrease your temperature but must be taken every four to six hours,” Thum says. You should always check with a doctor to see if it’s safe for you to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Get Someone to Bring You a Thermometer: How to Check Temperature Without Thermometer
If you’re really concerned about whether or not you’re running a fever, the only thing you can do to actually know is to get a thermometer. “The only sure thanks to checking for a fever is to use a thermometer. You can buy these over the counter at a pharmacy.
A fever may be a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit,” Thum says. So, if you can muster the energy to walk to the store, it’ll be a worthwhile investment (plus, if this happens again, you won’t have to wonder).
If you’re confident that you’re sick and potentially contagious, try calling a friend who’s been there for you before and seeing whether they’re able to drop one off on your doorstep.
When do you have to seek medical attention for a fever?
If you feel ill and you’ve got a moderately high fever (think: above 102 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.9 degrees Celsius), that’s your cue to call a doctor to figure out the next steps, says Dr.
Witches. Otherwise? “In general, if you’re experiencing fever associated with other symptoms such as shortness of breath, a rash, or confusion, it’s probably best to seek medical attention,” he says.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to Check Temperature Without Thermometer
Q. Is there a way to check your temperature without a thermometer?
A. “The commonest thanks to checking if someone features a fever without a thermometer is to feel the forehead or neck with the rear of your hand,” Lee says. “Check to ascertain if it feels warmer than usual. Do not use the palm, as it is not as sensitive to temperature changes as the back of the hand is.
Q. How can you tell if you have a fever without fever?
A. Feeling changes in your own temperature. Fevers can make people feel hot or cold, Cutler says. You might feel and look flushed (with rosy skin) or shiver, both of which indicate that your body is trying to lower your temperature. When trying to diagnose fever without a thermometer, people often touch their foreheads.
Q. Can I use a food thermometer to check my temperature?
A. Fortunately, you can use a meat thermometer to check your body temperature. It’s not as precise as an oral thermometer, but it can help you keep track of your body temperature.
Q. How many minutes should you take your temperature?
A. Keep the thermometer under your tongue for 3 minutes. Remove the thermometer without touching the tip. Gently wipe the thermometer with a tissue.
Q. How soon after eating should you take your temperature?
A. Always clean the thermometer before and after using it. You can use cool, soapy water or lotion. Wait a minimum of 1 hour after heavy exercise or a hot bath before measuring blood heat. Wait for 20 to a half-hour after smoking, eating, or drinking a hot or cold liquid.
Q. What is the most accurate way to take your temperature?
A. A rectal or ear temperature reading is going to be a touch above an oral reading. A temperature taken within the armpit is going to be a touch less than an oral reading. The most accurate thanks to measuring temperature are to require a rectal reading.
Q. Which thermometer is most accurate for adults?
A. Rectal thermometers, which go into your rear end, are the most accurate, but they can be uncomfortable. Armpit, ear, and forehead thermometers aren’t as accurate. Most doctors think an oral thermometer, which you hold under your tongue, is best.