Protocol - Body Temperature - Oral Thermometers

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Protocol Name from Source:

This section will be completed when reviewed by an Expert Review Panel.


Publicly available


This protocol provides a description for obtaining body temperature by oral thermometers.


The following is a summary description for obtaining body temperature by oral measurement.

Oral Body Temperature:

• There are many different types of oral thermometers that are appropriate for this protocol. Investigators should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for calibration and measurement.

• Place the thermometer probe in the sublingual pocket for the full measuring period. This period is determined by the amount of time needed for the probe’s temperature to equilibrate with the contact area and varies depending upon the type of thermometer used. For example, a few seconds is needed for an electronic contact thermometer in predictive mode and one minute is required for a chemical phase change thermometer.

• Read the thermometer and record the temperature.

Normal Body Temperature:


Degrees Fahrenheit

Degrees Celsius


96.8 to 99.7

36.0 to 37.6

Personnel and Training Required

Health care professionals trained in the operation of the selected thermometer.

Equipment Needs

Oral thermometer


Requirement CategoryRequired
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individualNo
Major equipmentNo
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collectionNo
Specialized trainingNo

Mode of Administration


Life Stage:

Infant, Toddler, Child, Adolescent, Adult, Senior, All Ages, Pregnancy

Specific Instructions:

The Sickle Cell Disease Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, and Renal Working Group recommends body temperature be obtained by either oral or tympanic (i.e. ear) measurements, and that once selected, the same body site be used over the course of a study. To aid comparability and accuracy, the Working Group also recommends the investigator record the make and manufacturer of the thermometer, and follow their guidelines regarding thermometer use, calibration, storage, and maintenance.

Research Domain Information

Release Date:

July 30, 2015


A measurement of the heat in an individual’s body, which is reported in either degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius.


Body temperature is associated with the presence or absence of various illnesses and infections and having an abnormal temperature can be an indication for additional medical testing.

Selection Rationale

The Sickle Cell Disease Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, and Renal Working Group selected an overall description of obtaining body temperature as the protocol because there are multiple body sites which are routinely used in clinical and research practices to obtain temperature. The selected description is comprehensive and provides details on how to use various thermometers, factors which affect accuracy, and the importance of user training.




Common Data Elements (CDE)Person Vital Signs Temperature Physical Examination Value2644401CDE Browser

Process and Review

This section will be completed when reviewed by an Expert Review Panel.


Davie, A., and Amoore, J. (2010). Best practice in the measurement of body temperature. Nursing Standard. 24, 42, 42-49.

General References

McCallum, L., and Higgins, D. (2012). Measuring body temperature. Nursing Times; 108: 45, 20-22.

Knies, R.C. Section Editor. Temperature Measurement in Acute Care: The Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How? Research Applied to Clinical Practice. Emergency Nursing World enw.org/Research-Thermometry.htm

Protocol ID:



Export Variables
Variable NameVariable IDVariable DescriptionVersiondbGaP Mapping
PX810102_SCD_BodyTemperatureOral_Thermometer_CalibrationPX810102010000Was the thermometer calibrated and used under manufacturer's recommendations?4N/A
PX810102_SCD_BodyTemperatureOral_Thermometer_ReadingPX810102020000What is the reading from the thermometer? In Fahrenheit4N/A