Home Latest News Study reveals that average body temperature is no longer 98.6 degrees – Times of India

Study reveals that average body temperature is no longer 98.6 degrees – Times of India

Study reveals that average body temperature is no longer 98.6 degrees – Times of India


NEW DELHI: It was commonly believed that 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit was the normal body temperature. However, as per a recent study by Stanford Medicine researchers, the body temperature varies from person to person and is influenced by various factors such as gender, age, weight, and height. The researchers note that body temperature fluctuates throughout the day.
“Most people, including many doctors, still think that everyone’s normal temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact what’s normal depends on the person and the situation, and it’s rarely as high as 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Julie Parsonnet, MD, a professor of medicine and of epidemiology and population health at Stanford. She authored the research that came out on September 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Dr. Parsonnet expressed her intent to explore personalised definitions of fever and investigate whether maintaining a consistently higher or lower normal body temperature has any impact on life expectancy in forthcoming research. She added, “There’s a lot of temperature data in the world, so there’s a lot of opportunity to actually learn something about it”.
Over the course of each decade since the 19th century, the average body temperature of the typical American has progressively declined by approximately 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit from the historical standard of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This change is likely attributed to improved living conditions in modern times, which help reduce inflammation and subsequently lower body temperature. Now, most individuals have an average body temperature close to 97.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
The 98.6-degree figure that has become conventional can be traced back to data published in 1868 by a German doctor who collected temperature measurements from around 25,000 individuals. The doctor noted a range of temperatures within the group, observing that men and older adults tended to have lower readings compared to women and younger adults. Additionally, temperatures tended to be higher in the afternoon. However, the calculated average from these measurements was 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and that has been the benchmark for quite some time.
Recognizing what qualifies as a medical-grade fever is crucial, with naturopathic doctor Leah Gordon, ND, explaining that it begins at a temperature exceeding 100.4º F, in a separate interview with Motherly.
Newborns typically have an average body temperature of approximately 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. For children, the average body temperature is around 97.52 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is indicative of a fever. If a baby is younger than 3 months old and exhibits a fever above 100.4º F, or if a child of any age has a fever reaching 104º F or has a history of febrile seizures, it’s advisable to get in touch with your child’s pediatrician.
It is imperative to understand that not all fevers necessarily require treatment with fever-reducing medication, particularly if the individual, whether it’s an adult or a child, is still sleeping and maintaining a relatively normal eating pattern.
Here are the key body temperature indicators for fever in adults:

  • A temperature of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit constitutes a fever.
  • A temperature above 103.1 degrees Fahrenheit is categorised as a high fever.
  • A temperature exceeding 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a very high fever.



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