ZocdocAnswersWhen is the right time to measure body temperature?

Question

When is the right time to measure body temperature?

I have heard that the right time to measure normal body temperature is in the mornings, right after waking, but I've heard just the opposite, too. What's the right time to do it, and how low is low enough that you're probably sick?

Answer

This is an interesting question. From a medical standpoint, there is no "right" time to measure body temperature. Body temperature fluctuates throughout the day with its peak in the late afternoon and trough in the early morning. If you are trying to track your body temperature closely, just make sure that you are measuring it at the same time every day. Keep in mind that day to day variations are common, as well as monthly variations if you are a women with a regular cycle. The best type of physician to ask about your body temperature is your primary care physician. As far as your question about how low is too low, that really depends. Strictly speaking any core body temperature less than 96 degrees F is considered to be low. In some very rare cases, a low body temperature can mean a severe infection. Other symptoms are usually present. Thus measuring body temperature regularly when you are not feeling sick does not have a lot of value. Because not all thermometers and measuring techniques are accurate, daily body temperature measuring can lead to unnecessary worry about being sick. I would suggest that you take your temperature when you think you may be getting sick. If your temperature is either high (above 100.4, or low (below 96), then call your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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