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Body Temperature?
Old 02-04-2009, 02:08 PM   #1
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Body Temperature?

OK this is weird, but I thought I would ask. Last time I took my temp with the home thermometer I thought it was broken because the reading was well below 98.6F. But now twice in just over a month two thermometers in different doctor's offices have registered me as being low, most recently at 96.5F. So is this more normal than I have been lead to believe? Anything to worry about?
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:16 PM   #2
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I'm glad to see this post. My temp is usually around 97.1. I thought I was turning into a lizard. My doc never seems to be alarmed.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:26 PM   #3
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Temperature varies through the day, lowest in the morning and highest at 6 pm. 99.9 is the high for 99% of healthy people. These are oral temps, with rectal or eardrum temps a degree or so higher.

Morning low range might be around 97.7. But if it's oral there is room for error as some mouth breathing is common. Some diseases like hypothyroidism can cause low readings, but in most cases it's jut genetic variation, recent cold beverages, bad seal around the thermometer, bad thermometer. Absent other problems it's probably normal.

Have you tried your kid's eardrum thermometer?
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:42 PM   #4
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Have you tried your kid's eardrum thermometer?
As a doctor, don't you think that eardrum thermometer would leave a earwaxy bitter taste in your mouth? Is that healthy?

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Old 02-04-2009, 02:47 PM   #5
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Have you tried your kid's eardrum thermometer?
Eardrum thermo is the one I was ready to throw out because I thought it couldn't possibly be correct. The 96.5F reading was oral at about 4PM, with no recent beverages of any kind.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:11 PM   #6
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Whew Rich, I'm glad you said "eardrum" thermometer.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:23 PM   #7
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But now twice in just over a month two thermometers in different doctor's offices have registered me as being low, most recently at 96.5F. So is this more normal than I have been lead to believe? Anything to worry about?
It confirms what society has always suspected about them cold-blooded financial types.

Either that or it's February, your metabolism has given up hope of ever seeing spring again, and it's gradually shutting you down in a last-ditch life-preserving hibernation attempt.

You don't have to worry about hypothermia until you see them reaching for a rectal thermometer. Luckily by that point your nervous system is shutting down your sensitive areas, too.

But, no, there's a wide variability in human temperatures. You might be a couple standard deviations below the median but that's not far enough to be dangerous.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:59 PM   #8
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Whew Rich, I'm glad you said "eardrum" thermometer.
Naughty girl .

A fellow intern of mine back in the 70s won a bet by jogging 5 miles to prove how much exercise increased core body temperature. He did the entire 5 miles with the thermometer fully inserted. I won the bet about core temperature, but I paid him off just because of his devotion to proving his point. It was not an eardrum thermometer.

Wonder what image Fuego will come up with on that one...
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:15 PM   #9
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Wonder what image Fuego will come up with on that one...
I'm just thinking I probably would have searched the existing literature and medical journal articles a little more to find some evidence to support my claims about exercise's effect on core body temperature. Ewww...

Well, at least your colleague was devoted to accuracy, since you know what type of thermometer they say is most accurate...

And Rich, just so no one tries this at home, what exactly are the effects of jogging five miles on core body temp?
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:23 PM   #10
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Long ago, when I was young and fit, my temperature ran rather low ~97.

While overweight and with high BP, temp ran 98.5-99.

Now tends to be around 97.5.
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:23 PM   #11
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:21 PM   #12
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A fellow intern of mine back in the 70s won a bet by jogging 5 miles to prove how much exercise increased core body temperature. He did the entire 5 miles with the thermometer fully inserted. I won the bet about core temperature, but I paid him off just because of his devotion to proving his point.
Navy used to run a diver-training school at my last submarine training command. Every class the diver instructors would run a dozen hardcore submariners through 4-6 weeks of basic techniques for submarine hull inspection & repairs. (And, incidentally, an extra $110/month or so in diving pay.) It was probably 150-200 students per year.

Every year we'd have one or two students whose bodies appeared to be unable to regulate their temperature to avoid heat stress. The instructors were well aware of heat-stress symptoms & prevention. They made quite sure that the students were well hydrated (both inside & out) and not pushed beyond reasonable limits. Yet one year a 20-something man, in fairly good shape on a reasonably cool day, finished a run of several miles, turned to report to one of the instructors, and dropped in mid-sentence. The corpsman spent about 30 seconds on him and began calling for bags of ice. They emptied all 100 pounds of it out of the machine and packed it onto his gurney. The EMTs were skeptical (and not happy with the melting mess) but by the time the ambulance got to Tripler his core temp was measured at 104 degrees.

A year later the student entered the class again, despite everyone's concerns. The corpsman was watching him like a hawk and sure enough his body started heating up again. It was caught early enough to respond to less drastic measures but that was the end of his submarine diver career.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:28 PM   #13
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Naughty girl .

A fellow intern of mine back in the 70s won a bet by jogging 5 miles to prove how much exercise increased core body temperature. He did the entire 5 miles with the thermometer fully inserted. I won the bet about core temperature, but I paid him off just because of his devotion to proving his point. It was not an eardrum thermometer.

Wonder what image Fuego will come up with on that one...
When I was in undergrad in the early 70s the med school associated with our university was doing research on hypothermia. A number of us volunteered as subjects, submitting our nearly naked selves to submersion in icy water until we didn't feel much of anything anymore. All for $50.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:50 PM   #14
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When I was in undergrad in the early 70s the med school associated with our university was doing research on hypothermia. A number of us volunteered as subjects, submitting our nearly naked selves to submersion in icy water until we didn't feel much of anything anymore. All for $50.
Hey! I recently came across a photo of the docs who were conducting those tests....
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:10 PM   #15
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And Rich, just so no one tries this at home, what exactly are the effects of jogging five miles on core body temp?
Proctalgia.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:20 PM   #16
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Sounds like a real PITA to me...
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:20 PM   #17
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I'm just thinking I probably would have searched the existing literature and medical journal articles a little more to find some evidence to support my claims about exercise's effect on core body temperature. Ewww...

Well, at least your colleague was devoted to accuracy, since you know what type of thermometer they say is most accurate...

And Rich, just so no one tries this at home, what exactly are the effects of jogging five miles on core body temp?
Belding and Hatch did the work on this back in the '50s. IIRC they did have the advantage of access to military "employees". And yes, they did use rectal thermometers. Don't know about jogging 5 miles, but forced march....? Yep!
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:59 AM   #18
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Sounds like a real PITA to me...

hehehehe
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:09 AM   #19
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Proctalgia.

Alright, a new word for PITA.
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:41 AM   #20
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Alright, a new word for PITA.


Not to put too fine a point on it, but you also should be aware of proctalgia fugax, for those PITAs who don't hang around very long. Coccydynia is more appropriate for those chronic, recurrent PITAs.

Glad to be of service.
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