What Is The Right Body Temperature?
The normal human body temperature is reckoned to be 37ºC or 98.6ºF as has been taught to us in schools. This benchmark of 37ºC holds good ordinarily but is certainly not sacrosanct in the scientific world. The credit for declaring 37ºC (98.6ºF) as the normal temperature of human body is attributed to 19th-century German Physician Dr. Carl Wunderlich who collected temperatures of thousands of individuals and came up with the observation. While declaring 37ºC as the average mean temperature of the samples collected sounds reasonable; its conversion to Fahrenheit scale makes it 98.6ºF which tends it to appear more revered and is often misleading while talking of averages.
The latest researches on the evaluation of the normal body temperature suggest that the temperature of any healthy individual is dependent upon different factors like the age of the person, the time of the day when it is recorded, the place or the part of the body where the thermometer is placed to record the temperature, physical activity level of the individual and similar variants.
The temperature of the body is also dependent upon the metabolic activity of the body. Numerous studies have concluded that the people with higher metabolic rate show higher temperature and those with low metabolic rate have lower body temperatures. This explains for the lower normal body temperatures of elderly people who are in good health. In a sample of 150 healthy elderly people of the average age of 80, the average temperature never reached 98.6ºF, according to one recent study carried out by researchers in the United States.
Human body temperatures are usually best recorded by placing the thermometer under the tongue called oral temperature. This gives the core body temperature. Temperatures recorded by placing the thermometer in rectal or vaginal openings also are considered core body temperature and show negligible variance to oral temperature readings. The body temperatures by placing the thermometer under the armpits usually show a lower reading by 0.7ºC (1ºF) and are usually corrected by physicians to arrive at core body temperature. The use of modern Infrared technology based non-invasive thermometers record the core body temperature accurately by keeping it approximately one inch above the forehead to take the temperature of temporal nerve which runs across the forehead.
The significance of normal body temperature is very well understood by medical fraternity to diagnose the disease. Whenever the body temperature rises above 38ºC (100.4ºF), the condition is called fever which often is the result of some infection or illness. The diseases like malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis and many other common diseases are usually diagnosed by monitoring the core body temperature and its pattern by the physicians.
According to modern researchers on the subject, normal body temperature varies between 36.1ºC (97ºF) to 37ºC (99ºF). The ideal way to make the baseline of your normal body temperature (when you are healthy and fit) is to record the oral temperature during different times of the day and draw an average from these.