How long should you wait before taking your temperature after drinking water?

How long should you wait before taking your temperature after drinking water?

You should wait at least 15-30 minutes before you take your temperature after drinking water. The temperature changes which occur due to fluid intake can easily interfere with oral temperature readings. Waiting for a while can regulate the temperature inside your mouth and help you take an accurate reading.

A study published in 2018 discussed the temperature changes which happen as a result of hot or cold beverage consumption. The study tells us that drinking a hot beverage can elevate our oral temperature by 0.6 to 0.9°C, for up to 15 to 25 minutes. 

Similarly, a colder beverage can decrease the oral temperature by 0.2 to 1.2°C, which lasts about 10 to 15 minutes. (1) The study helps us derive an optimal time frame of 15 to 30 minutes which can help alleviate any temperature changes which happened due to liquid consumption. 

What other factors can affect the temperature readings?

While waiting 15 to 30 minutes after drinking water is considered necessary, certain other factors can also affect the temperature readings. These include:

  • Physical activity – it changes your body temperature because high energy expenditure boosts your metabolism to produce more energy.
  • Environment – exposure to a hot or cold environment can affect body temperature. However, your body tries to bring it back to normal, which is why you sweat on a hot day or shiver when it’s too cold. 
  • Age – it can affect body temperature to some extent.
  • Medications – certain medications can affect your body temperature, like fever-reducing drugs which can help bring your body temperature down. 

All these factors should be kept in mind while taking a person’s temperature as these factors can affect your body temperature and may give a false reading.

How to take accurate temperature readings?

While taking body temperature, the following tips can prove to be very helpful:

  • Wait 15 to 30 minutes after drinking water (cold or hot) before taking the temperature.
  • Take temperature at a particular time of the day each day (follow a pattern)
  • Using a reliable device is of utmost importance, a flimsy thermometer could cause a false temperature reading.
  • Follow the thermometer usage instructions as indicated.
  • Use a clean and disinfected thermometer for each reading.
  • The thermometer should be placed under the patient’s tongue, making sure their mouth is closed during the reading.

If you are taking the temperature of a child or an adult who can’t place a thermometer under their tongue, there are a few options for such individuals. These include:

  • Temporal Thermometers – these are forehead thermometers which use infrared technology to measure the temperature. Just place the thermometer on your forehead and it will give you a reading.
  • Tympanic Thermometers – these are gently inserted into the ears and measure temperature in the ear canal. Make sure you read the instructions for proper usage.
  • Axillary Thermometers – these thermometers are placed under the armpit to measure the body temperature. This is one of the most commonly used thermometers in children besides rectal thermometers, which are used in babies under 1 year of age. 

When to consult your doctor?

If you are experiencing a fever and other associated symptoms like fatigue and chills, it is important to take your temperature and seek medical attention. If your body temperature exceeds 37° on the Celcius scale or 98.6° on the Fahrenheit scale, this means you’re having a fever. 

A fever may not always be an alarming sign and may sometimes be a sign of mild illness. However, seeking medical attention is important if your fever persists for more than 2 days. If you have any other drug-related queries, feel free to reach out to us.


To sum up, you should not take your body right after drinking water, as it can interfere with the accuracy of your thermometer. By waiting at least 15 to 30 minutes after drinking water (or any other liquid), you can minimise the risk of getting a false reading.  

Proper usage of a thermometer is important to track changes in your body temperature. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your health or temperature readings.

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Price MJ, Trbovich M. Thermoregulation: From Basic Neuroscience to Clinical Neurology, Part II. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 2018; Chapter 10: 169-185. Available From:


Sugarek NJ. Temperature lowering iced water. Enhance effects in the elderly. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1986 Jul;34(7);526-9. doi 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1986.tb04245.x. PMID: 3722670 Available From: