According to recent research by nurses at the University of Virginia Health System, your mother was always right when she told you not to eat or drink anything before taking your temperature. On average, study participants consuming cold beverages required 15 minutes for their temperature to return to baseline, while those consuming hot beverages returned to baseline after 23 minutes.
“Taking an accurate temperature is one of the most basic, yet at times complicated, pieces of data that we can collect to monitor our health and the health of our loved ones,” said research project coordinator Beth Quatrara , RN, MSN, APRN.
With cold and flu season upon us, this change in practice could not only apply to patients in a hospital setting, but to parents tending to sick children. To get the most accurate temperature reading as possible, Quatrara suggests not participating in any activities that may change body or mouth temperature, such as exercise, smoking or chewing gum.
“It’s something that comes up in our practice on a regular basis,” said Tricia Jenkins, RN, a member of the research team. “Nurses take temperatures several times a day, every day, so the research proposition was really applicable.”
As the first research examining the effects of beverage consumption on the accuracy of oral electronic thermometers, the nurses’ findings were presented recently at the annual Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses Convention in Las Vegas. Previous research on the topic used only men as research subjects and tested oral temperature with mercury-filled thermometers.
“It’s great to say we can make a change in practice,” Quatrara said. “It’s always best to provide patient care based on evidence rather than guessing at it.”
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