Thermometer and Low Temps?

Updated on November 19, 2009
L.G. asks from Watertown, MA
9 answers

So my daughter had a high fever - 102 - and today she is better and I took her temperature and the thermometer beeped but the reading was 92 degrees. So I did it again and it beeped at 97. Now she was not enjoying this so I couldn't do it again, but is it normal to have a reading below 98.6 and does it mean she's sick or she's fine? Thanks.

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answers from Barnstable on

I find when they don't have a fever, the under arm thermometer doesn't really climb to normal range. When they do have a real fever it has no trouble getting up there or above. Below normal means no fever.

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answers from Boston on

Two things...
1) It's totally normal for some people to run a lower temp on average. On a totally healthy day, I generally run about 98.0 or lower.
2) Have you checked the battery for the thermometer? When ours starts giving funky readings consistently, I tend to replace the battery.


answers from Boston on

97 is normal, particularly in the morning before a person gets moving. 92 is weird and absolutely not normal - I'd check the thermometer on yourself and others in the family. It could be beeping because someone stopped holding it firmly in their mouth, or it could be defective.



answers from New London on

My daughter and I generally have lower temps. It's not something we worried about until DH did some reasearch and found it could be a sign of hypothiroidism. But still, we're fine and don't have major issues with that prediction. My son recently had a good temp, think at 1 point it may have been 102 or 103 as well. The day it broke it was low as well and I wondered that same thing. The day after it was back to his normal. So I would say your okay but if it keeps up for another day or so, call and ask the DR.
I've also read, probably on the info sheet, that under the arm you add a degree compared to orally.



answers from Boston on

You didn't say what kind of thermometer you were using... I find a huge difference between the underarm one and the ear digital one I use on my kids. The underarm one often comes in with a low read like what you said here. The ear one runs about .5 to 1 full degree higher!! My pediatrician said the underarm one is more reliable and to use that if your child has a really high temp just to be sure of what it actually is. The low reading could have been that your daughter was wiggling and moved it. It is also very normal to have a regular body temp of below 98.6 (I actually always have). This could just be the way your daughter is. I think it's hard to get a really good reading until they are old enough to sit still long enough to put the digital one under their tongue like we do!! Anyway, I would say your daughter is just fine... you'd know if she felt very warm all over to beware of a temperature. Good luck!



answers from Boston on

If it is an underarm reading then you should be adding a point. Some people say that you shouldn't, but I have always been told that you should and any of the digital ones that I have bought always say so in the instructions. So, if you want an accurate reading you should follow the instructions on the particular thermometer that you have. Also, sometimes my digital gives a crazy low reading. I think that it is a sign that the battery is low or that before taking the temp it was stored in an area that was kind of cool so it takes a while to get to an accurate reading. Either way, I would not worry :)



answers from Boston on

The 92 was most likely a mistake, but 97 is perfectly fine. My temp has always run low, between 96 and 98. Different people have different normal temperatures, within reason.



answers from Boston on

When my son and I play with our fancy new themometer (one of those no touch ones!) we often get a reading of below 98.6. I think the concern should be anything HIGHER than that. A reading slightly lower doesn't really mean anything unless it's SIGNIFICANTLY lower and the patient shows symptoms of not feeling 'right.'



answers from Washington DC on

L., were you taking it orally or?

Have you changed the batteries in the thermometer?

If you were doing it orally (on a 2 yr old?), I'd say fluctuations are normal. My own temp, when I'm not sick, is below 98.6. But if not orally, I'd say double check the batteries or just pick up another thermometer :)

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