Everything to Know About Normal Body Temperature

Body temperature can be determined by an infinite number of external factors.  These maybe be stress, poor diet, or even age and mood.
Everything to Know About Normal Body Temperature

Last update: 18 January, 2019

Body temperature is very delicate.  This is because there are conditions that can modify or alter it. 

In measuring body temperature, the normal range can be influenced by various factors such as:

  • Stress
  • Diet
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Time of day

We always worry about having a high fever. However, having a low temperature is equally dangerous and harmful, as one that is 104 degrees.

So, it’s very important to know the optimal temperature of our body to avoid risks and incorrect diagnoses.

And, even though you may not realize it, there are thousands of ways to take body temperature and many are not effective.  It’s vital that you consider all of these factors  to be able to arrive at a precise diagnosis.

For instance, maybe you have been confused about when you had a fever and when you were too cold.  Here we will discuss normal body temperature.

Normal body temperature

thermometer and temperature chart

As we said earlier, body temperature can vary with each person.  However, the average normal temperature is between 95 and 100.  This can vary depending on what part of the body it is taken as well as the time of day.

A baby has a fever when the temperature is between 100.4 and 102.2 degrees.  This depends on how it is taken, where it is taken on the body, and the time of day.

If a baby has a fever over 100.2  and reaches up to 100.4, it is best to call a pediatrician immediately.

When it comes to children,  the situation is similar to adults.  The normal temperature is from 96.8 to 98.6 degrees, depending on the method used to take it.

There may be 1 degree of between underarm temperature and rectal temperature. It is important to consider this and not become alarmed.

Low Temperature

Having a low temperature depends on external factors more than anything else.  Nevertheless, there can be a sudden dip in temperatures. This is hypothermia.

Hypothermia occurs when the temperature is below 95 degrees.   Therefore,  96.8 degrees is not cause for alarm.


sick woman taking her temperature with a thermometer

When the temperature is above 99.5 degrees it is considered a fever.   In this case, using a rectal thermometer the temperature may exceed 99.9 and rise to 100.4 degrees.

If a fever reaches 102.2 and above, consult a doctor immediately. 

A high fever can cause harm to the tissues, delirium, and in extreme cases, a heart attack.

When should I take my temperature?

The environment directly influences the number on the thermometer.   Because of this, we recommend that you take into account the following:

•  Between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. there can be a variation as much as .5 degree.

•  Temperatures are a little higher in winter than in summer.

•  Women tend to have higher temperatures than men.  It can vary from .2 to .5 degrees depending on the time during the menstrual cycle.

•  Having a stressful day, a poor diet, or taking the temperature just after a fit anger can raise the temperature as much as .5 degree.

•   Alcohol is a factor which can alter the temperature.  It can raise or lower it if someone is drinking.

•  Physical activity or exercise can cause an increase.  Experts don’t recommend taking the temperature right after exercising.

What is the best way to take body temperature?

man taking his body temperature with a thermometer

These are four ways to take body temperature:

  • Underarm
  • Rectal
  • Aural
  • Oral

The most common ways are the  underarm and oral methods.

The underarm method is less precise because it is affected by outside factors and is less apt to reflect the internal temperature of the person.

Supposedly, the most precise method is the rectal.  This is the case, even though this area changes a lot with respect to the actual temperature.  It can end up being high, even when it’s going down.

The oral method is most accessible and most used.  This takes the temperature of the lingual arteries and therefore gives more precise results.  

It’s important to keep the mouth closed when taking the oral temperature.  Leave the thermometer in the mouth for 3 or 4 minutes.

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