How to Take Vital Signs


These instructions are for people who are interested in checking their own vital signs or wanting to know their health standards. Vitals signs should be often taking so that an individual can learn more about their body condition.



Things that are needed when taking vital signs

-Digital thermometer that uses an electronic probe to measure body temperature.

-Plastic Cap

-Blood pressure cuff





What are Vital Signs?
Vital signs are measurements of the body's most basic functions. The four main vital signs routinely monitored by medical professionals and healthcare providers include the following:

·         body temperature

·         pulse rate

·         respiration rate (rate of breathing)

·         Blood pressure

Vital signs are useful in detecting or monitoring medical problems. Vital signs can be measured in a medical setting, at home, at the site of a medical emergency, or elsewhere.


Note: For People who are taking vital signs from their home it may limit the amount of vitals signs that can be taking (Due to the limited availability of the required equipment in one’s home).


What Is Body Temperature?

Body temperature can vary depending on the gender, recent activity, food and fluid consumption, time of the day, and, in women, the stage of the menstrual cycle. Due to the causes of these symptoms they can have an affect on the normal body temperature that may cause it to be a little off or odd. Normal body temperature, according to the American Medical Association, can range from 97.8° F (or Fahrenheit, equivalent to 36.5° C, or Celsius) to 99° F (37.2° C).


Familiarization of the Thermometer

Become familiarized with the thermometer as shown below. There are different varieties of thermometers that are used to take body temperature. Most of the time people use the more modern digital thermometers that use an electronic probe to measure body temperature. There are numerous ways to take body temperature. For example, body temperature can be taking by the mouth, rectum, and by the ear. If there any reason that may seem a little confusion turn back to this particular page.


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Step 1- Have the patient sit in an upright position. (Patient should not move and be relax as possible).

Step 2- Insert the probe bulb into the plastic cap.

Warning: If the plastic cap is not wrapped on the thermometer, germs can easily be spread.  

Step 3- Tell the patient to open his or her mouth wide with his or her tongue upward, and gently place the thermometer underneath the tongue.


Step 4- Once the thermometer is underneath the tongue ask them to close his or her mouth and then begin taking their body temperature.

Step 5- Push the button. The thermometer will beep and a number will appear, indicating in degrees Fahrenheit the temperature of the patient’s body. When done with this procedure, dispose the plastic cap in a sanitary manner.  .  




What is the pulse rate?


Taking a pulse rate is checking the number of times the heart beats per minute. When checking a pulse it also checks the heart rhythm and the strength of the pulse. For example, the strength or weakness of the pulse indicates overall heart-health. The normal pulse for healthy adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute.


Step 1- Relax the patient arm on the table. The patient’s palm should be facing the ceiling and the fingers should be relaxing as well.



Step 2- Use the first and second fingertips, and place it on the patient’s wrist or where the forearm meets the upper arm press firmly but gentle on the arteries until one can feel a pulse. (As the picture shown below)


  Step 3- Keep hand on the pulse and begin counting the pulse. Count the second hand on whatever the number that was start from. Count pulse for 60 seconds (or for 15 seconds and multiply by four to calculate beats per minute).


Note: When counting, concentrate on the beats. Try not to watch the clock continuously, so it does not become confusing.


Step 4- Chart down the results when done. If one is unsure about the result ask someone to watch the clock while one counts the beats.





What Is the Respiration?

Respiration is the number of breaths a person takes per minutes. While counting the number of times a person’s chest rises. When taking respiration it is important that one pays close attention to the chest. A normal respiration would be 15-20 breaths per minutes.   



Note: When taking respiration do not tell the person that he or she is being watching breathing. A person tends to breathe differently when they are aware of someone checking their respiration.



Step 1- Tell the patient to sit up straight and relax and breathe.



Step 2- As the patient is breathing gently place hands on their upper chest and middle back. Then look at the chest as it rises.



Steps 3- When the chest rises then begin to count to a full minute. Once the counting is finished then record how many times the chest rises and that will be the answer.




What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope. Each heart beat pumps the blood in the arteries, the highest blood pressure as the heart contracts. If one does not have an electronic blood pressure monitoring then they are not able to take their blood pressure without this particular equipment.


When measuring blood pressure there are two numbers that should be recorded, they are systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the higher number of pressure inside the artery when the heart contracts and pumps the blood throughout the body. On the other hand the diastolic is the lower number of pressure inside the artery when the heart is resting and is filled with blood.




Note: When measuring blood pressure rest for three to five minutes without taking a measurement.



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Step 1- Sit patient in a comfortable chair, with his or her back supported with legs uncrossed. (No movement should be allowed).


Step 2- Place patient arm on a table or hard surface. Make sure the arm is being relaxed and patient is comfortable.


Step 3- Wrap the cuff carefully around the patient upper part of the arm.


Note: The cuff should be sized easily for the patient, so that it would have enough room for one fingertip to slip underneath.


Step 4- Place the stethoscope in the care giver ear. Then place the Diaphragm underneath the cuff on the artery.



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Step 5- Care giver should pump the cuff to make sure that it works. Also turn the knob to make sure there is no air in the cuff.



Step 6-The Care giver should begin pumping the cuff until the measurement says 180. Slowly unleash the turning knob and listen to the heart beat.


Warning: If the cuff is pumped over the amount that is giving, it can cause serious damage to the patient health.


Step 7- The first heart beat should be measured, and the least beat should be measured and that will indicate the systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.









Conclusion: It is very important for people to learn about their vital signs.  It does not necessary means doctors or health provider can take vital signs but an individual can also. This particular technique can be use for any one, regardless if they are in the health field or not.