Body Temperature

Body Temperature-

Body temperature can be measured by placing the clinical thermometer in different parts of the body such as:

  • Mouth (oral temperature)
  •  Axilla (axillary temperature)
  • Rectum (rectal temperature)
  • Over the skin (surface temperature).

 Normal Body Temperature-

Normal body temperature in human is 37°C (98.6°F), when measured by placing the clinical thermometer in the mouth (oral temperature). It varies between 35.8°C and 37.3°C (96.4°F and 99.1°F).

Temperature at Different parts of the body-

  • Axillary temperature is 0.3°C to 0.6°C (0.5°F to 1°F) lower than the oral temperature.
  • The rectal temperature is 0.3°C to 0.6°C (0.5°F to 1°F) higher than oral temperature. 
  • The superficial temperature (skin or surface temperature) varies between 29.5°C and 33.9°C (85.1°F and 93°F).

Variation of Body Temperature-

1. Age

In infants, the body temperature varies in accordance to environmental temperature for the first few days after birth. It is because the temperature regulating system does not function properly during infancy. In children, the temperature is slightly (0.5°C) more than in adults because of more physical activities.

2. Sex

In females, the body temperature is less because of low basal metabolic rate, when compared to that of males. During menstrual phase it decreases slightly.

3. Diurnal variation

In early morning, the temperature is 1°C less. In the afternoon, it reaches the maximum (about 1°C more than normal).

4. After meals

The body temperature rises slightly (0.5°C) after meals.

5. Exercise

During exercise, the temperature raises due to production of heat in muscles.

6. Sleep

During sleep, the body temperature decreases by 0.5°C.

7. Emotion

During emotional conditions, the body temperature increases.

8. Menstrual cycle

In females, immediately after ovulation, the temperature rises (0.5°C to 1°C) sharply. It decreases (0.5°C) during menstrual phase.

Pathological Variations

Abnormal increase in body temperature is called hyperthermia or fever and decreased body temperature is called hypothermia