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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Different temperature in each ear???

(14 Posts)
steppemum Fri 13-Jun-14 12:10:09

Dd2 (6) is poorly, high temp. We have an ear thermometer and it shows 2 different temps in her 2 ears. It can be as much as 2 degrees different. The higher the temp, the greater the difference.

This is not new. When she was 2 she was hospitalized for a week with high temp. My ear thermometer gave us 2 different temps, I thought it must be my thermometer, but then the hospital then discovered that they got very different temps depending on which ear they took it in.

They were baffled. There is no logical medical reason for it. It should not be possible. They took temp other ways (under her arm etc) and went with the highest temp in her ears.

Every time she is ill, I am reminded that she does this. Yesterday morning she was burning hot, 38 degrees in one ear 40.2 in other ear. I go by highest temp.

So, can anyone explain it???
I always forget to note if it is always the same ear which is hotter/cooler, but this time, dd herself noted and it is the same ear.

(not worried about dd, she is on the mend, just curious about thermometer)

Sleepingisgivingin Fri 13-Jun-14 12:14:12

I have no medical advice but the same happens with our dds and the Braun ear thermometer.

I always take both and go by the higher temp too.

WildCherryBlossom Fri 13-Jun-14 12:17:56

I always take the temperature in both ears - twice! I get varied results with the ear thermometer but I reckon it is far easier to get a false low than a false high. I go with the highest reading.

steppemum Fri 13-Jun-14 13:21:03

Oh that's interesting, I thought it was just us!
I don't get this with the other 2 dcs, and the hospital told me it was pretty much impossible due to how the thermometers work

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 13-Jun-14 13:33:28

Really normal take each ear on three occasions take the average of the six readings. It varies with the way you hold it in the ear, how much pressure you apply.
If you took rectal temperature 6 times you would get six slightly different readings due to the angle you hold the thermometer at.

Staywithme Fri 13-Jun-14 13:43:38

There may be a slight difference in temperature but when my husband, who is immunosuppressed, had a soft tissue infection on his face, his affected side gave a higher temperature! Is it possible the child has an inner ear infection?

steppemum Fri 13-Jun-14 14:45:02

She often gets high temp, whenever she is ill, and it is always higher on one side.
I usually take it twice in each ear, I don't take the average though, because eg yesterday morning, she was obviously very very hot and one side said 38, and the other 40. I would say she definitely 40.
And actually, each ear is pretty consistent with itself.

According to the hospital, it should not be higher even if one side is infected, because it measures the temp of the blood, and as blood circulates through the whole body, blood in one place can't be hotter than in another (or something)

PigeonPie Fri 13-Jun-14 14:51:42

It is pretty usual with both my DSs too and we work on the same principle of taking both ears and going with the higher temperature.

I often wondered too, but just accept it now!

drivenfromdistraction Fri 13-Jun-14 14:56:23

Is her illness caused by a recurrent ear infection? Could the higher temp be in the infected ear?

LadySybilLikesCake Fri 13-Jun-14 15:00:02

I'd say an ear infection too. I hope all is OK.

steppemum Fri 13-Jun-14 15:01:36

No she doesn't have an ear infection, and in fact has never had one.

Sorry I realise my last post was misleading. She isn't ill very often, but if she is ill with anything, he temp shoots up.
So, tummy bug, the other dcs have it, a bit of a temp, dd2 has it rocket high temp.

And as I said, apparently it shouldn't be higher in the infected ear, even if it is ear infection (according to the doctors)

It is very interesting to hear about all those who have the same. It does make me wonder about hospitals as they take it once, with an ear thermometer and take that reading as gospel.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 13-Jun-14 16:21:18

What the hospital are not acknowledging is the human factor no matter how hard we try we can not remove this. We will be inconsistent in how we hold the probe in the ear.
Test it on yourself hold probe gently in ear take temperature, hold tip of ear and hold probe in ear take temperature and finally hold probe firmly, but not painfully in ear. You will get three different temperatures.
Take into account that that ear might have been cuddled into Mum's shoulder so air circulation will have been less will increase temperature or lying down so dependent more blood pooling there.
As I say even with rectal temperature do it three times and you will get different values.
When DD was on HDU with life threatening infection at 5 months it was each ear three times and take average.

steppemum Fri 13-Jun-14 16:59:30

thanks lone cat, it is really interesting that the HDU did it 3 times

Artistic Fri 13-Jun-14 17:55:36

I've also found that if the child is sleeping on any one side then the ear on that side goes warmer & gives higher readings. I usually take average of 2 reading in each ear or the highest.

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