What does “normal” body temperature mean – is 36.6 a myth?

Most people think that the “normal body temperature” of the body is considered to be 36.6 degrees Celsius.

In recent times, more and more women succumb to the sudden impulse to measure their body temperature, and when they find that it is, for example, 37.1 degrees Celsius, they begin this process in a manic habit, prompting them to they are looking for some developing disease in themselves.

What is a “normal body temperature”

Back in 1992, a detailed study of the body temperature of healthy men and women aged 18 to 40 was conducted. The temperature range varied from 35.6 °C to 38.5 °C, with a mean value of 36.8 °C +/- 0.4 °C. The lowest temperature was the body temperature at 6 a.m. and the highest between 4 and 6 p.m.

The normal “day-night variation” is about 0.5 °C. However, in some people recovering from illness, when their body temperature is higher, these “fluctuations” may be greater than 1 °C.

Furthermore, in the most febrile diseases, that is, associated with a large increase in body temperature, the diurnal fluctuation is preserved, but it is at a much higher level.

The temperature of the human body is regulated by a special thermoregulatory center located in the brain. The function of this center is similar to the action of the thermostat that regulates, say, the water heater at home.

Constantly stable body temperature is maintained at the expense of the fact that the thermoregulatory center equalizes the excess heat that is released from the metabolic activity of the muscles and liver through heat transfer through the skin and lungs.

In some diseases, the position of the “thermostat” in the brain shifts above 37 °C to febrile levels, for example, up to 39 °C.

It is like setting the thermostat of the boiler to a higher level in order to increase the temperature of the water in it – the organism by changing its “settings” goes into a mode of self-limitation of an existing infection , in most cases viral. With the elimination of the danger, the “thermostat” resets to its original, usual level.

Many factors influence the thermoregulatory center. For example, the body temperature rises during a meal and for some time afterwards.

Factors that affect the body temperature of women are much more than men, due to the menstrual cycle of the fairer sex, associated with periodic synthesis and release of hormones.

During the first half of the monthly cycle /before ovulation/ the base temperature of the female body is lower, but from the moment of ovulation it rises by 0.6 °C and remains elevated until the onset of menstrual bleeding.

Pregnancy, due to a change in the hormonal background, also changes the usual individual body temperature. Temperature indicators are also influenced by different ways of measuring body temperature.

How body temperature is measured

  • Oral – the probe of the thermometer is placed under the tongue in the space called the sublingual or sublingual pocket. It is in this area that the sublingual artery passes closest;
  • In the area of ​​the armpits;
  • Rectal – the measurement is performed in rectum;
  • Disposable patches for measuring temperature – stick on the forehead in the area of ​​the projection of the temporal artery. Their advantage is in the possibility of constant monitoring of body temperature for a certain period of time. And this is especially important for small children, who often get sick from a wide range of viral infections;
  • Tympanic or ear method of measurement – a special thermometer is used, in which the measurement of body temperature temperature takes place in the outer ear.

The temperature measured rectally is usually 0.6 °C higher compared to that in the mouth and armpits. Most accurate data are obtained from the ear or tympanic thermometer.

The definition of “normal body temperature” for each person is an individual value, as well as the amount of its daily fluctuations. Therefore, measurement should be performed at each visit to the doctor and the individual body temperature indicator should be determined in early childhood.

For fever, elevated body temperature above the diurnal range, an increase in body temperature above 37.2 degrees in the morning and 37.7 degrees in the evening is considered, provided that the measurement is carried out in the mouth 2 hours after eating.

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