Normal human body temperature is 98.6 degrees.
Don’t believe that!
When using a thermometer to take your temperature, you hope that it doesn’t read higher than 98.6 degrees. Unless you’re 12 years old and trying to stay home from school.
A high temperature reading can indicate illness, as your body generates extra heat to kill an invading pathogen. But, what is considered high?
The normal temperature reading of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit was established by a German doctor in the 19th century. He took one million (!) temperature readings from 25,000 adults, and determined that the average for healthy people was the now-familiar 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius).
But, “average” is not the same as “normal,” in the sense that deviation from the average indicates that something is wrong. New research has shown that “normal” can range from 98.2 degrees to 99.9 degrees.
Also, the typical temperature reading for an individual can vary over time. It’s lowest in the morning and highest in the evening. It can be affected by eating, exercising or other activities. Women’s body temperature varies during their menstrual cycle. Finally, older people tend to have lower readings than younger people.