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Human Body Temperature: Fever - Normal - Low Readings

  • Synopsis: Published: 2016-01-05 (Revised/Updated 2017-05-24) - Information and conversion charts of human body temperatures including normal, high and low readings. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Ian Langtree at Disabled World.

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Did you know normal human body temperature is also known as normothermia or euthermia? And your body temperature can be measured in many locations including, mouth, ear, armpit, forehead, and rectum? However, your body temperature reading will vary depending on where the measurement is taken - eg. the armpit is about 0.5C lower than the body's core temperature (the temperature of the internal organs) - the time of day, your age, and activity level, and, in women, the stage of menstrual cycle can affect your temperature reading.

Quick Facts:

  • Body temperature can change throughout the day.
  • Body temperature may be abnormal due to fever (high temperature) or hypothermia (low temperature).
  • A temperature over 38°C (100.4°F) most often means you have a fever caused by infection or illness.
  • It is generally medically accepted that normal body temperature ranges between 36.5°C (97.7°F) to 37.5°C (99.5°F).

Body Temperature Can be Taken Either:

  • Orally - By mouth - glass thermometer, or a digital thermometer.
  • Rectally - Temperatures taken rectally tend to be 0.5 to 0.7 degrees F HIGHER than when taken by mouth.
  • Forehead (Skin) - A special thermometer can quickly measure the temperature of the skin on the forehead.
  • Ear - A special thermometer can quickly measure the temperature of the ear drum, which reflects the body's core temperature.
  • Axillary - Temperature taken under the arm (armpit) tend to be 0.3 to 0.4 degrees F LOWER than those temperatures taken by mouth.

What is the Normal Body Temperature for a Baby?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states a normal body temperature for a healthy baby is between 97 and 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit. If the rectal temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher, they are considered to have a fever.

What is the Normal Body Temperature for Children?

The average normal body temperature for children is about 37°C (98.6°F). A child's temperature usually averages from around 36.3°C (97.4°F) in the morning to 37.6°C (99.6°F) in the afternoon.

What is the Normal Body Temperature for Adults?

  • Temperature in the mouth (oral) is about 36.8°C (98.2°F)
  • Temperature under the arm (axillary) is about 36.5°C (97.7°F)
  • Temperature in the anus (rectum/rectal), vagina, or in the ear (otic) is about 37.5°C (99.5°F)

At What Temperature Are You said to Have a Fever?

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, a fever is indicated when body temperature rises about one degree or more over the normal temperature of 37.0 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Body temperature thermometer
About This Image: Body temperature thermometer
Adults: A fever is generally agreed to be present if:

  • Temperature in the mouth (oral) is at or over 37.7°C (99.9°F)
  • Temperature in the anus (rectum/rectal) is at or over 37.5 - 38.3°C (99.5 - 100.9°F)
  • Temperature under the arm (axillary) or in the ear (otic) is at or over 37.2°C (99.0°F)

Child: A child is considered to have a fever if their rectal temperature is 38°C (100.4°F) or higher - or armpit temperature is 37.4°C (99.3°F) or higher.

Body Temperature Chart
Core Measurement (rectal, esophageal, etc.)
Classed as:CelsiusFahrenheit
Normal36.5 - 37.5°C97.7 - 99.5°F
Fever / Hyperthermia>37.5 or 38.3°C99.5 or 100.9°F
Hyperpyrexia>40.0 or 41.5°C104.0 or 106.7°F
Note: Various sources have slightly different temperatures for fever, hyperthermia and hyperpyrexia.

What is Basal Body Temperature?

Basal body temperature is defined as the lowest temperature attained by the human body during rest (usually during sleep). Basal body temperature is generally measured immediately after awakening, although the temperature measured at that time is somewhat higher than true basal body temperature. In women, body temperature will differ at various points in the menstrual cycle, and this temperature change can be used to track ovulation to aid conception or avoid pregnancy.

What is Core Body Temperature?

Core temperature is the operating temperature of an organism, specifically in deep structures of the body such as the liver, in comparison to temperatures of peripheral tissues. Core temperature is normally maintained within a narrow range so that essential enzymatic reactions can occur.

What is Hyperpyrexia?

The word used for a fever with an extreme elevation of body temperature greater than or equal to 41.5 °C (106.7°F).

What is Hyperthermia?

A high temperature that is not a fever.

Causes include heatstroke, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, idiosyncratic drug reactions, malignant hyperthermia, stimulants like amphetamines or cocaine, and serotonin syndrome.

What Body Temperature Denotes Hypothermia?

Hypothermia is defined as a drop in body temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hypothermia can quickly become life threatening and should be treated as a medical emergency. Hypothermia is the opposite of hyperthermia which is present in heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

°C to °F and °F to °C Body Temperature Conversion Chart

35.0 °C = 95.0 °F
35.1 °C = 95.2 °F
35.2 °C = 95.4 °F
35.3 °C = 95.6 °F
35.4 °C = 95.8 °F
35.6 °C = 96.0 °F
35.7 °C = 96.2 °F
35.8 °C = 96.4 °F
35.9 °C = 96.6 °F
36.0 °C = 96.8 °F
36.1 °C = 7.0 °F
36.2 °C = 97.2 °F
36.3 °C = 97.4 °F
36.4 °C = 97.6 °F
36.5 °C = 97.7 °F
36.6 °C = 97.8 °F
36.7 °C = 98.0 °F
36.8 °C = 98.2 °F
36.9 °C = 98.4 °F
37.0 °C = 98.6 °F
37.1 °C = 98.8 °F
37.2 °C = 99.0 °F
37.3 °C = 99.2 °F
37.4 °C = 99.4 °F
37.6 °C = 99.6 °F
37.7 °C = 99.8 °F
37.8 °C = 100.0 °F
37.9 °C = 100.2 °F
38.0 °C = 100.4 °F
38.1 °C = 100.6 °F
38.2 °C = 100.8 °F
38.3 °C = 101.0 °F
38.4 °C = 101.2 °F
38.6 °C = 101.4 °F
38.7 °C = 101.6 °F
38.8 °C = 101.8 °F
38.9 °C = 102.0 °F
39.0 °C = 102.2 °F
39.1 °C = 102.4 °F
39.2 °C = 102.6 °F
39.3 °C = 102.8 °F
39.4 °C = 103.0 °F
39.6 °C = 103.2 °F
39.7 °C = 103.4 °F
39.8 °C = 103.6 °F
39.9 °C = 103.8 °F
40.0 °C = 104.0 °F
40.1 °C = 104.2 °F
40.2 °C = 104.4 °F
40.3 °C = 104.6 °F
40.4 °C = 104.8 °F
40.6 °C = 105.0 °F
40.7 °C = 105.2 °F
40.8 °C = 105.4 °F
40.9 °C = 105.6 °F
41.0 °C = 105.8 °F
41.1 °C = 106.0 °F
41.2 °C = 106.2 °F
41.3 °C = 106.4 °F
41.4 °C = 106.6 °F
41.6 °C = 106.8 °F

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