22 answers

Do You Add a Degree to Underarm Temp?

I've heard so many different things on underarm temps, does anyone know if you are supposed to add a degree or not? Please help I'm not sure because of everything I heard and I need to know so I can properly take my daughters temp.

What can I do next?

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Don't add, just report to the doctor that the temp was taken under the arm. They'll know it's probably higher internally. It's hard to say a hard an fast rule because all kids are different.


Yes, you are correct. Under the arm you add a degree. In the bottom you subtract a degree. The temp in the mouth is the correct temp - you neither add nor subtract.

More Answers

Yes. You can buy a baby thermometer that is callibrated for their temperature to be taken under their arm, then you don't have to do anything (but make sure that if you are telling a nurse the baby's temp that you also tell them that the thermometer is specifically designed for temps under the arm) Otherwise, you need to add a degree.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, under the arm (also called "axillary temp"), you add 1 degree. Rectal, you subtract 1 degree.

I've always heard that you do.

you actually add .9 degrees to the temp, so if you get an underarm temp of 97.2 then it is really 98.1, or if you get 98.6 the it's really 99.5. This isn't the most reliable method of temperature taking because how much clothing they do/do not have on and how they were laying prior to temp taking can affect it, but it is a safe guesstimate if something is wrong. I personally would invest in a good temporal artery thermometer that you rub on their foreheads, but that's just me.

Underarm isn't really accurate enough for a three month old. You should take her temperature anally.

yes under the arm you add a degree, but with a 3 month old you need to take it rectally if you want the most accurate.


You do not add a degree no matter how or where you take their temp!! I take their temp rectally. It is the most accurate.

My oldest is 4 now, but she started having febrile (fever) seizures when she was 9 months. We always heard you add a degree if taken under the arm and minus a degree if taken rectally, but that isn't true.

I feel like the thermometers we buy don't do good under the arm or in the ears.

Good Luck, D'Anne

You don't need to worry about adding or subtracting anywhere you take the temp- if there is a fever and you are calling the pedi to describe symptoms, just tell them what the temp was and where you took it. Let them do the math.

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