Smart Ear: Understanding your temperature reading

Taking a temperature reading is really easy but sometimes understanding what you see isn't so easy.  

When taking a temperate reading, how and where you take the reading is just as important as the reading itself.  Each method of temperature reading: oral, rectal, underarm, forehead, and ear, will have a different reading and possibly a different fever range. 

It's important to select the correct mode for your thermometer on your Kinsa app, depending on where you've taken the temperature. We automatically adjust the numbers for you based on this mode - see chart below for differences between locations.

Ear and rectal readings are core temperatures, resulting in a higher and often more accurate reading. What's more important than how your temperature is taken is understanding your temperature reading. We all have a slightly different baseline temperature so the range you fall within is more important than the exact reading on your thermometer. While it's true that 98.6 F is considered normal, this isn't everyone's normal. 97.2 F is just as "normal"! :slightly_smiling_face:

Regardless of what the thermometer says, assessing how you or your child is feeling is most important. If the thermometer is reading 99 F but your child looks very ill, follow your gut and give the doctor a call. Conversely, if the thermometer is reading really high but you or your child seems to be doing great, question the accuracy and try it again! Make sure your kiddo hasn't been in direct sunlight, isn't sweaty, isn't directly out of a warm bathtub, or anything that could cause a high reading. 

To you understand your reading, take a look at the chart below:



Understanding thermometer accuracy

It's also really important to understand temperature ranges for each reading method if you want to determine the accuracy of any thermometer, including ours! 

To test the accuracy of a thermometer, it's best to take multiple readings using the same placement and thermometer type.  For example, use 2 different oral thermometers to ensure the readings are similar. 

If you need to test the accuracy of different thermometers such as an ear thermometer, like our Smart Ear and our new QuickScan which takes non-contact forehead readings, you'll need to compare the temperature range instead of the readings.  If the readings fall within the same range, for example, both show a mild fever, then both thermometers are considered accurate. Your forehead and ear temperature readings may never be the same, but the readings should be in the same range!