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Thermometer. View of a clinical thermometer with a scale in degrees Fahrenheit. A thermometer consists of a narrow, sealed tube with a bulb of mercury at one end (lower left). As the mercury warms up, it expands up the tube in proportion to its temperature. The temperature can then be determined by reading off the mercury level against a scale. A patient's temperature is usually taken by inserting a thermometer into their mouth. Normal body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius (96.8 degrees fahrenheit). A high or low body temperature may indicate illness, organ malfunction or exposure to extreme environmental conditions.
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