The ideal technique for measuring temperature should be rapid, painless, reproducible and accurately reflect the core temperature. While axillary temperature is commonly used because of convenience and safety, there are conflicting reports abouts its accuracy. To determine whether axillary temperature can act as a surrogate for oral/rectal temperatures, a prospective comparative study was conducted. The axillary and rectal temperatures (Group 1: infants < 1 year age) and axillary and oral temperatures (Group 2: children 6–14 years age) were compared using mercury-in-glass, thermometers. Various tests of agreement were applied to the data obtained. Rectal and axillary temperatures for infants agreed well; the mean difference (95% limits of agreement) between the two being 0.6°C (−0.3°C, 1.4°C). Similarly, the mean difference (95% limits of agreement) between oral and axillary measurements for children aged 6–14 years was observed to be 0.6°C (−0.4°C, 1.4°C). Axillary temperature appears to be an acceptable alternative to rectal/oral temperature measurements in children.
Temperature measurementsAxillaryTests of agreement