The Normal Body Temperature Myth

May 18, 2018

© Michael Pettigrew | Dreamstime

We've been told that normal body temperature is 98.6℉, but what if what we've been told wasn't true? Come to find out what we've been told as normal body temperature was presented as fact by one doctor 150 years ago.  In 1851 a German doctor experimented with 25,000 people over several years in taking their body temperature and in 1868 he concluded the average human body temperature 98.6℉, which was a big deal because it underscored the idea that fever is a symptom of illness, not a cause. Fast forward to the early 1990s when Professor Philip Mackowiak, a medical historian, decided to challenge the 98.6℉ standard and it accuracy.  What he found out is that our body temperature varies through the day with its lowest point around 6 a.m. and its highest in the early evening, declines over our lifetime and may even be differentially linked to gender and ethnic background. But to the credit of the 150 year old standard, the new testing revised the new normal body temperature to an average of 98.2℉. However he suggests the fever threshold, which the CDC says is 100.4℉ or higher, is actually lower at 98.9℉ for temperatures taken in the morning and 99.9℉ at other times. While it may be subtle, there are potential risks in the gap where someone could believe they're not running a fever when in reality they are indeed sick and need to avoid other people.

SOURCE: Mental Floss

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