Practice Question # 745.
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The recording of vital signs is a part of every physical examination. Blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature measurements are obtained and recorded. Acute changes and trends over time are documented; unexpected changes and values that deviate significantly from the patient’s normal values are brought to the attention of the patient’s primary health care provider. The “fifth vital sign,” pain, is also assessed and documented, if indicated.
Fever is an increase in body temperature above normal. A normal oral temperature for most people is an average of 37.0°C (98.6°F); however, some variation is normal. Some people’s temperatures are quite normal at 36.6°C (98°F) and others at 37.3°C (99°F). There is a normal diurnal variation of a degree or two in body temperature throughout the day; with temperature usually lowest in the morning and rising during the day to between 37.3° and 37.5°C (99° to 99.5°F), then decreasing again during the night.