The Temperature of the Body.
THE use of the thermometer is an important addition to the means of making physical examination, and is one of the improvements in modern medicine.
It is intended to measure the heat of the body.
The best kind now in use is the self registering.
The bulb of the instrument is to be placed in the warmest part of the body, and should be allowed to remain there for eight to ten minutes.
Some place it under the tongue; some in the axilla.
Sometimes it is necessary to introduce it into the rectum or vagina. In these parts the temperature is a degree higher than in other parts.
The normal temperature of the body is from 981 to 99' Fahrenheit, in the great majority of persons.
Exceptionally it may be half or a whole degree either above or below this range.
The normal fluctuations are inconsiderable in comparison with the variations of disease.
The natural variations in health are as follows: The temperature is at its minimum at five o'clock A. M. ; the maximum is reached in the latter part of the afternoon, and then decreases till five o'clock A. M.
By means of the thermometer we are able to determine all differences with precision.
The increase of heat in different febrile diseases rarely exceeds 110' Fahrenheit, and as a rule the amount of increase is a criterion of its severity.
An increase to 100' Fahrenheit or 101' is evidence of mildness of the disease.
If the thermometer indicates steadily 105' Fahrenheit, it is Certain that the disease is severe.
A persisting temperature above 105' Fahrenheit denotes that there is great danger, and an increase to 108' to 110' Fahrenheit is usually a fatal sign.
The abnormal changes of temperature consist of more or less increase.
Diminution below the normal standard is comparatively rare; yet it sometimes occurs and is of some importance.
In the course of typhoid fever, a sudden decrease may indicate intestinal hemorrhage. Sometimes the temperature falls without improvement in the other symptoms. This is an unfavorable symptom.
The value of thermometric changes depends in no small measure upon the Symptoms with which they are associated.
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