Advanced Placement English III
7 April 2014
How to Find Vital Signs: Pulse, Temperature, and Blood Pressure Typically vital signs are taken during the admission into a hospital or emergency care center, or even during a checkup. These are important in determining the wellbeing of a patient because they display in numbers how one is feeling or reacting to certain medications and treatments. There are “norms” or normal numbers and when a patient is above or below these figures then it makes it easier to conclude exactly what is wrong. The main vital signs include pulse, temperature, and blood pressure.
Pulse is the rate at which the heart is beating per minute, and is the most well-known of the vital signs. There are four points on the human body where pulse can be taken accurately. These are the carotid, apical, brachial, and radial. The carotid pulse can be located on the neck between what is commonly known as the adam’s apple and the tendon to the side of it, the apical pulse is found a little on the left of the chest near the fifth rib, the brachial is on the inside of the elbow, and the radial pulse is located on the thumb side of the wrist. To take carotid, brachial, and radial pulses simply use the index and middle finger until you can feel the heartbeat, then count the beats for a minute. It is important not to use the thumb because the healthcare provider may be feeling their own pulse as well as the patient’s since it is possible to feel one’s heartbeat in the thumb. However the apical pulse is just a bit different, for this pulse a stethoscope must be used. The end of the stethoscope should be put on the chest and then for every “lubb-dubb” sound that is heard one beat is counted.
Temperature is also a very important vital sign because at extreme high or low temperatures death can and will occur. The main temperature points are oral, tympanic, and axillary. To take oral temperature, put a...
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