Often, when measuring our body temperature to check for fever, we use 36.5 degrees Celsius as a reference. However, this is a generalization and is somewhat inaccurate: the optimal body temperature varies from person to person, with some significant jumps depending on various circumstances.
What is the ideal temperature for adults?
As Medical News Today points out, the average body temperature in adults is around 37º, remembering that there are small interpersonal variations that can be significant.
In addition, we should not forget that body temperature offers different values depending on how it is measured: if it is in the armpit, it will be lower than in the rectum.
Other factors that can affect our body temperature include age, time of day (typically, it is lower in the morning and higher in the afternoon-evening), recent activity (intense exercise raises the temperature) and food and fluid intake.
It is also known that older people tend to have lower temperatures than younger people, and that certain health conditions can lower (hypothyroidism) or raise (cancer) temperatures. Ethnicity may also play a role.
Thus, a meta-analysis published in the specialized media Open Forum Infectious Diseases concludes that the mean absolute temperature according to the evidence available to us would be 36.59º; taken orally, it would drop to 36.24º.
What is the ideal temperature in children?
In the same way that in adults there are pronounced variations in body temperature, in the case of children it differs according to age.
In infants, it is higher than in slightly older children or adults: usually around 37.5°. However, it should be borne in mind that babies have poorer thermoregulation than adults, so environmental conditions play an important role in measuring it.
As children get older, their average body temperature drops to 36.4°.
What is the ideal temperature for pregnant women?
During pregnancy, people’s basal metabolic rate rises, so they produce more heat. In addition, the temperature varies in stages, in parallel with the different processes involved in the development of the fetus.
According to a review published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the temperature is highest around the twelfth week of pregnancy (between 35.6 and 37.5°) and lowest around the thirty-third week (between 35.3 and 37.3°).