Normal body temperature varies depending on several factors, including an individual’s age, gender, and activity levels.
The normal body temperature for the adult is about 98.6°F (37°C), however, each individual’s baseline body temperature is slightly different, and might consistently be a bit lower or higher.
In this article, we talk about the standard ranges of temperature for adults, children, and teens. We also consider factors affecting body temperature, and if to call a doctor.
Normal body temperature chart:
Body temperature readings vary depending on where on the body someone takes the dimensions.
Rectal readings are greater than oral readings, while armpit readings tend to be lower.
The table below provides the standard ranges of body temperature for both adults and children as per a thermometer manufacturer:
|Types of Readings||0-2 years||3-10 years||11-65 years||Over 65 years|
|Oral||95.9-99.5°F (35.5-37.5°C)||95.9-99.5°F (35.5-37.5°C)||97.6-99.6°F (36.4-37.6°C)||96.4-98.5°F (35.8-36.9°C)|
|Rectal||97.9–100.4°F (36.6–38°C)||97.9–100.4°F (36.6–38°C)||98.6–100.6°F (37.0–38.1°C)||97.1–99.2°F (36.2–37.3°C)|
|Armpit||94.5–99.1°F (34.7–37.3°C)||96.6–98.0°F (35.9–36.7°C)||95.3–98.4°F (35.2–36.9°C)||96.0–97.4°F (35.6–36.3°C)|
|Ear||97.5–100.4°F (36.4–38°C)||97.0–100.0°F (36.1–37.8°C)||96.6–99.7°F (35.9–37.6°C)||96.4–99.5°F (35.8–37.5°C)|
Normal body temperature readings will vary within these ranges depending on the following variables:
- A person’s sex and age
- That the time of day, normally being smallest in the early morning and highest in the late afternoon
- Low or high activity levels
- Fluid and food intake
- For females, the stage in their monthly menstrual cycle
- The method of measurements, such as oral (mouth), rectal (bottom), or armpit readings
Normal temperature in adults:
A normal adult body temperature, when taken orally, can vary from 97.6–99.6°F, although different sources may give slightly different figures.
In adults, the following temperatures suggest that somebody has a fever:
- At least 100.4°F (38°C) is a fever
- Over 103.1°F (39.5°C) is a high fever
- Above 105.8°F (41°C) is a very high fever
Scientists have looked into the individual differences between people’s normal body temperatures.
A study looking at nearly 35,500 people found that elderly adults had the lowest temperatures, and African-American women had higher temperatures than white men.
They also found that specific medical conditions can affect a person’s body temperature.
For example, individuals with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) tended to have lower temperatures, while people with cancer had higher temperatures.
Normal temperature in children:
For children aged 3–10 normal body temperature ranges from 95.9–99.5°F when taken orally.
Children generally have similar body temperatures to adults.
Normal temperature in babies:
Occasionally, babies and young children have greater body temperature ranges than adults to get armpit and ear measurements.
For infants aged 0–2 years, normal body temperature ranges from 97.9–100.4°F when taken rectally.
Body temperature can rise a little if a baby is teething.
The average body temperature of a toddler is 99.5°F.
A baby’s temperature is higher because they have a larger body surface area relative to their body weight. Their bodies can also be more metabolically active, which generates heat.
Babies’ bodies do not regulate temperature as well as adults’ bodies. They sweat less when it’s warm, meaning that their own bodies retain more heat.
It may even be harder for them to cool down during a fever.
When to See a Doctor:
A harmful body temperature depends on a person’s age:
A temperature of 100.4–104°F caused by short-term disorders should not lead to significant harm in otherwise healthy adults.
Call a doctor for temperatures above 104°F or even lower than 95° F, especially if there are other warning signs, such as nausea, or shortness of breath.
Temperatures of over 105.8°F can lead to organ failure.
Doctors specify hypothermia for a temperature dropping below 95°F. Hypothermia can be harmful if not treated immediately.
Children aged between 3 months and 3 years old who have a fever but a temperature of lower than 102°F do not always need medicine.
Call your physician when a child has a temperature of over 102.2°F, or has a lower temperature but is suffering from dehydration, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If an infant of 3 months or younger has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or above, seek emergency medical attention. In very young babies, a slight fever can signal a serious illness.
How to take your temperature:
There Are Lots of Kinds of thermometers available, and the best method Is Dependent upon a person’s age:
|0 to 3 months||Rectal|
|3 months to 3 years||Rectal, ear, or armpit|
|4 to 5 years||Oral, rectal, ear, or armpit|
|5 years to adult||Oral, ear, or armpit|
Follow the Directions on the thermometer bundle.
When a temperature reading is unusually high or low, take another reading after approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
If a person is unsure the reading is right, they can take another reading with another thermometer.
What causes body temperature to Change?
If body temperature climbs above or falls below the 98.6°F (37°C) indicate the hypothalamus kicks into modulating the temperature.
When the body is too cold, the hypothalamus sends signals to make the body shiver, which warms your system upward.
If the body is too hot, it sends messages to begin perspiration, allowing heat to depart the body.
Infections trigger most fevers. A fever develops because of the body’s natural way of reacting to and combating disease.
Symptoms of fever:
Doctors consider a fever to be a body temperature that reaches or surpasses 100.4°F.
The perfect body temperature in adults is around 98.6°F, but this varies based on age, sex, physical activity, and health.
Body temperature changes throughout the day. A temperature of over 100.4°F indicates a fever.
Babies may have higher body temperatures than adults, but even a slight fever in babies can signal a serious illness.
Temperature readings taken from different body parts give a range of body temperatures that doctors consider normal.
Rectal readings are greater than oral readings, and armpit readings tend to be lower.
When an individual has an unusually high or low temperature, they ought to seek medical attention immediately.
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