The term ‘body temperature' normally relates to the temperature deep inside the body. This temperature must be maintained to ensure the stable operation of vital functions, including the brain, internal organs and main arteries.
Touching different parts of the body tells you that some parts feel warm and others cool. Also, measurements taken at these sites can be affected by saliva, moisture and sweat from the skin. Eating, bathing, exercising - even crying - can all affect temperature.
‘Normal temperature' is usually around 37 °C (98,6 °F). However, normal temperature is not the same for every individual. Temperature can vary with age, and even time of day. Usually it is lowest in the morning, highest in the afternoon and somewhat lower at bedtime.
To correctly tell whether someone in your family has a fever or not, it is important to know what their normal temperature is when they are well. Fever is one of the body's defence mechanisms. When bacteria or viruses get into your body and cause it to malfunction, the body goes on the defensive and your immune system is activated. When this happens, a central nerve in the brain allows the heat generated inside the body to be turned up from the usually constant level. This higher temperature level increases the metabolism and prevents the increase of pathogenic agents.
Why Measure Body Temperature:
It is of great medical importance to measure body temperature. The reason is that a number of diseases are accompanied by characteristic changes in body temperature. Likewise, the course of certain diseases can be monitored by measuring body temperature, and the efficiency of a treatment initiated can be evaluated by the physician. Fever is a reaction to disease-specific stimuli, where the set point of the temperature control centre is varied to promote the body's defenses against the disease process. Fever is the most common form of pathological (disease- related) elevation on body temperature.
What Is Important When Taking Temperature:
Essentially, it is true that the measured body temperature always depends on where it is measured. Therefore, contrary to popular consensus, there is no simple "normal temperature. Furthermore, a healthy person's body temperature will vary with activity and time during the day. In a rectal temperature measurement, a typical temperature difference of 0.5°C between the higher evening temperatures is physiological. Body temperature is typically elevated after physical activity. Roughly speaking, a distinction is made between a core temperature and a surface, where the surface temperature is measured at the skin surface and is a mixed temperature between the body's core temperature and the ambient temperature. The core temperature is measured by inserting a thermometer into a body cavity, which yields the temperature of the mucous tissue.
Where Should I Take The Temperature?
Rectal: The most reliable core temperature is obtained by inserting a thermometer into the rectum (rectal measurement). This measurement is accurate and has low scattering in the results. The normal range is approximately: 36.2°C - 37.7°C.
Oral: The oral measurement can be performed as buccal measurement (in the cheek) or as a sublingual measurement (under the tongue). Both measurements underestimate the rectal temperature by approximately 0.3°C - 0.8° C, with the sublingual measurement being preferable to the buccal.
Armpit: Body surface temperature measurements used clinically in practice are in the arm pit (axillary measurement) and in the groin. In both cases the respective limb is pressed against the body in order to reduce any ambient temperature influence. However, this is successful only to a limited extent with the disadvantage that the measurement time is long. In adults, the axillary measurement is lower than the rectal by approximately 0.5°C to 1.5°C! In infants, these underestimates in comparison with the rectal temperature are much smaller.
How Accurate Are Thermometer Readings?
Essentially a distinction must be made between the technical accuracy of the thermometer itself and the clinical accuracy in use in taking a temperature. The former is determined under idealized conditions to guarantee the quality of the instrument, taking the relevant technical standards into account. An accuracy of +/- 0.1°C can be considered state of the art for high-grade thermometers. The user must not confuse technical accuracy with this accuracy in use. The human body temperatures described here, which depend on the measurement location and time, are due to physiological causes and are not due to a thermometer malfunction. By correctly applying a thermometer, the accuracy can be strongly increased (follow the operating instructions!).