The overall health of an individual is determined by examining several vital signs, such as body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, heartbeat, and blood pressure. For all these measurements, there are recommended values that help in demarcating a healthy person from an ill health individual. For example, an elevated blood pressure increases the risk factor for stroke and heart attack. Likewise, a significant fluctuation from the normal human body temperature, either very low or very high, is a sign of underlying medical problems.
What is Normal Body Temperature?
Our body controls the temperature within a narrow range by means of a process called thermoregulation. This is crucial as the degree of coldness or hotness greatly affects the enzyme activities and chemical reactions of the body. And to ensure regular functioning of such processes, body temperature is monitored with the help of a thermometer that is calibrated either in a Celsius scale or Fahrenheit scale. By normal body temperature (medically referred to as euthermia or normothermia), we mean the range of temperature that is optimal for carrying out the bodily functions and metabolic activities.
What is the Range of Normal Body Temperature?
The body temperature of a person varies significantly, depending upon various aspects, like the body area of measurement, level of physical activity, and time of the day. To be more precise, values obtained by rectal and alike internal body measurements are slightly higher than skin or body surface measurements. The lowest value is obtained around 3 a.m. in the morning, while the highest is recorded at around 6 p.m. in the afternoon. Also, the higher the activity level at that time, the more is the expected temperature.
Normal Body Temperature for Babies
For babies, the normal body temperature averages between 96.8 °F to 98.6 °F (i.e., 36 °C to 37 °C). Temperature measurement for a baby below 96.8 °F is considered low and required warming up, whereas temperature falling within a range of 98.6 °F to 99.5 °F is low-grade fever, which may also be caused due to overdressing. In case, the body temperature of a baby falls within a range of about 100.4 °F to 101.3 °F, then fever is suspected.
Normal Body Temperature in Children
The recommended value is 96.8 °F to 98.24 °F, which is nearly the same as adults. Oral, axillary, and rectal methods are employed for measuring body temperature in children. In case of children above 6 years old, the daily temperature fluctuation is about 2 degrees Fahrenheit. For a child, rectal measurement value of about 100.4 °F or higher is a sign of fever. In such a case, immediate medical attention is required to check for fever and other health conditions.
Normal Body Temperature for Adults
The normal human body temperature of a resting adult body is believed to be 98.6 degrees, when measured in a Fahrenheit scale and 37.0 degrees when measured in a Celsius scale. These are the normal body temperatures for core body measurements. However, the accepted normal body temperature measured orally (beneath the tongue) is 98.2±1.3 °F and 36.8±0.7 °C. An adult has fever if his or her oral temperature measurement is 99.5 °F or higher.
In the concluding note, the normal body temperature for an adult woman is slightly higher than an adult man. As compared to this, the normal body temperature is higher in children, while it is lower in elderly individuals. Overall, low body temperature (hypothermia) or high temperature (hyperthermia) without any apparent reason may be an indication of medical problems.