Normally, the temperature of a human being is 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, there are a lot of other factors that play their role here, such as a person’s age, sex, and activity levels.
Then what is the normal body temperature? The normal temperature range falls between 97 degrees Fahrenheit to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the normal body temperature of adults. But when it comes to babies and children, the range falls between 97.9 degrees Fahrenheit and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moreover, the body temperature of one person does not remain the same throughout the day and it keeps on fluctuating throughout your life. It is also different in different parts of the body such as your underarm is slightly colder than your mouth. And your rectum will be slightly warmer than your mouth.
If your body temperature increases a bit too far, it is called a fever. Whereas, if it dips too low, it is called hypothermia.
What are the factors affecting normal body temperature?
The normal body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius was found out by a German doctor Carl Wunderlich. It is not necessary for you to have the exact temperature, it can be slightly higher or lower than this one. As our bodies tend to warm throughout the day, we have a higher possibility to develop a fever in the morning the next day.
According to research, it was revealed that apart from time, age is also one of the major factors affecting the body temperature of a person. Young adults tend to be warmer than normal adults, due to the decrease in your abilities to regulate body temperature. On top of this, the food we eat and the physical activity that we indulge in every day also play a major factor in fluctuating our body temperature.
Is this temperature the same in all the age groups?
As mentioned earlier, the normal body temperature varies from person to person. With the advancement of age, your body’s ability to regulate the temperature reduces. That is why older people feel chilled and colder in winter than younger adults.
The average body temperature of the age group is as follows:
- Children: The average body temperature of children ranges from 97.9 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.6 degreesCelsius to 99 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.2 degrees Celsius.
- Adults: The normal body temperature of adults ranges from 97 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.1 degrees Celsius to 99 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.2 degrees Celsius.
- Above 65: Adults above the age of 65, have their normal body temperature lower than 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius.
How does your body keep you warm?
Your body’s temperature is one of the sure signs that you are fit and healthy. A person lying on his deathbed will have his remaining time determined based on his temperature. Therefore, if a body is healthy, it will be able to keep the temperature at a normal level.
It can achieve this due to the presence of the hypothalamus in the brain. Hypothalamus signals your body to keep itself warm by shrinking down the blood vessels. Shivering is your reflex action when you feel cold, as your body is trying to produce heat through that reflex motion.
On the other hand, it keeps your body cool through sweating off the heat. Therefore, it’s completely normal for your body to fluctuate from its average temperature. Now that we know what the range of normal body temperature of a human being is, let us understand what happens when the temperature is not within this range.
If the temperature is significantly higher than the set range, then you suffer from fever. However, if it is slightly lower than the range, then it is known as hyperthermia.
Fever is a condition when the temperature is above the normal body temperature range. However, the exact temperature which indicates a fever is not known. It is different for different age groups.
- Babies: Rectum or ear readings have to be higher than 38 degrees Celsius
- Children: The mouth readings have to be higher than 37.8 degrees Celsius
- Adults: The armpit readings have to be higher than 37.2 degrees Celsius.
Here, as you can see the threshold for adults has been kept lower as their capacity to regulate the temperature is reduced.
Apart from temperature readings, there are also other symptoms of fever, which can help you gain medical attention as soon as possible. These are:
These are pretty mild conditions, indicating that your body needs rest. However, if the temperature readings cross 39.4 degrees Celsius and you feel difficulty in breathing, rash, stiff neck, nausea, or vomiting, it is best to consult a doctor.
However, if you have a baby in your house and he or she is suffering from fever, it is best to consult a pediatrician, especially when:
- The baby is or less than three months old
- The baby is between three months or three years old and has a temperature above 38.9 degrees Celsius.
- The child is more than three years old and has a temperature reading which crosses 39.4 degrees Celsius.
In addition to this, if your child is suffering from other symptoms such as:
It is best to consult a pediatrician and quickly seek medical care.
Hypothermia is a serious medical condition when the body temperature dips too low that is even below 35 degrees Celsius or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Generally, hypothermia occurs when a person is exposed to the outside cold weather for far too long. However, it also has the possibility of occurring inside the house too.
It can occur to people sitting inside the house when the house has a poor-heating management system or even an air-conditioned room in summer. Children and older adults are more vulnerable to hypothermia as they have reduced capacity to regulate their normal body temperature.
Symptoms of Hypothermia include:
- Excessive shivering
- Weak pulse
- Stuttered speech
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Shallow breath