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The average human body temperature is 98.6 F. This is something you’ve probably heard for years. However, it can vary from 97 F to 99 F during the day and vice versa. It can peak in the evening or late afternoon, sometimes increasing by 1 or 2 degrees.
You don’t have to check your temperature if you are healthy. If you feel sick or suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, you don’t need to take your temperature as often. Nearly all people who get the new Coronavirus have a fever or a temperature higher than normal. Many also suffer from fatigue or a dry cough.
The Myth of 98.6
The mid-1800s saw the 98.6 F standard. Carl Wunderlich, a German doctor, measured the armpit temperatures for approximately 25,000 people; He came up with a figure of 98.6 F.
Recent research indicates that this number has decreased. Scientists reviewed temperature records for three periods from 1860 to 2017; Scientists reviewed temperature records from three periods between 1860 and 2017. The average oral temperature fell slowly by approximately 1 degree to 97.5 F.
There are many theories that doctors have about why body temperatures are dropping. These include:
- Lower metabolic rates. All your systems need the energy to function properly. This generates heat. Because we are heavier than centuries ago, our metabolic rates may be lower. Your body produces less heat, which means your temperature will be lower.
- Lower rates of infection. Infections such as tuberculosis and syphilis were more common in the 19th century. Gum Disease was also more common. Many people experience higher body temperatures as a result.
- More accurate thermometers.
Doctors don’t consider you sick until your temperature reaches 100.4 F.
Older adults’ bodies don’t respond as well to illness as younger people’s. In older adults, serious infections can cause confusion and weight loss. A fever 2 degrees higher than normal is considered an infection by doctors.
How to take your temperature
Only a thermometer can tell you if you have a fever. Skin pinching and touch tests are not reliable. Although the most accurate thermometers are located in your back, they can be very uncomfortable. The accuracy of the forehead, armpit, and ear thermometers isn’t quite as high. A good oral thermometer, which you can hold under your tongue, is recommended by most doctors. Use a glass thermometer. They can contain mercury which can be dangerous.
Wash your hands with warm water and soap before you use an oral temperature meter. Do not eat or drink for 5 minutes before taking your temperature. Place the thermometer’s tip under your tongue. Keep your mouth shut. The thermometer will begin to beep after about 30-40 seconds. This means that the thermometer has reached its final reading. Rectal thermometers are approximately 1/2 to 1 degree colder than oral ones, so that you can add that to your final reading. After you are done, rinse the thermometer with cold water and clean it with alcohol. Rinse again.
A rectal thermometer is better if your child is younger than 3. Place a little petroleum jelly or lubricant on the tip of your thermometer. Place the thermometer on your child’s stomach and gently push it into their bottom. Please do not force it. After about 30 seconds of hearing the beep, take it out. It should be checked again and cleaned.
When should you call a doctor?
Drink plenty of fluids and get some rest if your temperature is between 100-102. If you wish, you can also take a fever reducer.
If your temperature rises above 102 F, call your doctor.
Call your doctor if you feel you might have been exposed to COVID-19 if you experience a fever, shortness of breath, or a cough.
If you experience a fever, stiff neck, throat swelling, confusion, or a stiff neck, it is important to call your doctor immediately. These symptoms could be signs of serious conditions such as meningitis or strep.
Even though you may not have any of these symptoms, your doctor might tell you to take your temperature first in the morning or at night. You can take the readings and make a report.
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