WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Oral thermometers and other standard methods can't accurately gauge core body temperatures in athletes with suspected heat exhaustion or heat stroke, a new study warns.
Researchers say rectal thermometers do provide an accurate assessment of hyperthermia (overheating), which can prove deadly.
The study authors noted that correct and immediate assessment of core body temperature is essential in determining whether an athlete may be suffering from non-lethal heat exhaustion or potentially fatal heat stroke.
"Heat stroke is an ever present risk when athletes perform intense exercise in the heat, so it's important to know which devices are valid for measuring core body temperature," lead author Douglas J. Casa, a certified athletic trainer and director of Athletic Training Education at the University of Connecticut, said in a prepared statement.
He and his colleagues determined that mouth, armpit, ear, temporal (near the temples) and forehead temperature measurements do not accurately assess core body temperature in athletes doing intense exercise in hot weather.
However, a rectal thermometer and an ingestible thermometer pill that measures gastrointestinal temperature each provide an accurate measure of core body temperature, they said.
The study is published in the fall issue of the Journal of Athletic Training.
The National Athletic Trainers' Association has more about heat illnesses.