Importance of Vital Signs
Vital signs are measurements of the body’s most basic functions. They are very useful in detecting and monitoring medical problems. There are five main types of vital signs which are temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure, and pain. They can be measured in a medical setting, at home, at the site of a medical emergency, or elsewhere.
The normal body temperature of a person should range from 97.8 to 99 degrees F. A person’s body temperature can be taken in any of these ways; orally (mouth), rectally (rectum), axillary (armpit), by ear, and by skin. Body temperature can be abnormal due to fever (high temperature) or hypothermia (low temperature). A fever is indicated when the body temperature rises above 98.6 degrees orally or 99.8. Hypothermia is a drop in body temperature below 95 degrees.
Measuring pulse is another important vital sign. Pulse is the pressure of the blood felt against the wall of an artery as the heart contracts and relaxes, beats. When measuring a person’s pulse there is three things you should always look at. Rate, rhythm, and volume. The rate refers to the number of beats per minute, rhythm refers to regularity, and volume refers to strength. The normal pulse for a healthy adult ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Pulse rate can increase with exercise, illness, injury, and emotions. Anyone can easily check their pulse by taking the first and second fingertip and pressing firmly but gently on the arteries until you feel a pulse. These arteries are located on the side of the lower neck, at the wrist, or on the inside of the elbow.
Another vital sign is respiration which measures the number of breaths a person takes per minute. This is usually measured when a patient is at rest and it simply just consists of counting the number of breaths they take for a whole minute by counting the number of times their chest rises. These rates can increase with fever, illness, and with other medical