Skin signs for evaluating patients

Skin Temperature

Another skin sign is temperature.

Abnormal temperature can affect the whole body. It can also affect one area, such as your hands, which could be hot or cold when everything else feels normal.

For instance, it is not a good sign if one leg is hot to the touch and the other is not. Even more alarming is if the hot leg is also swollen and red. This could be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or cellulitis.

Skin temperature can indicate different things:

  • Hot skin: An indicator of excess blood flow to the surface. In some cases, it can indicate a localized infection if the sign is limited to a specific area (such as with MRSA) or indicate fever or a systemic infection if the entire body is hot.
  • Cool skin: A sign of poor circulation. Causes include obesity, heart failure, hypothermia, diabetes, hypothyroidism (low thyroid function), and sepsis.

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