Average human body temperature is no longer 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit!

human body temperature

Whenever you feel feverish, you measure body temperature from thermometer and compares the reading with standard number—that is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), a normal human body temperature. Similar is the case when one visits family physician for running fever and they calibrate reading as per standard body temperature.


But the standard body temperature no longer remains the same, as per researchers at Stanford University who claims a drop in temperature in last decade.

During a study, they found the average temperature to have dropped by 0.03 degrees Celsius and 0.29 degrees Celsius per decade, for men and women respectively, over the past 150 years.

Since the 19th century, the normal body temperature meant 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37°C), given by a German doctor Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich in 1851, who took millions of readings from 25,000 German patients to conclude the same.


Julie Parsonnet, professor of medicine at the university and her team analysed 677,000 temperature readings, collected from 190,000 people, between 1862 and 2017 before coming to this conclusion. As per the researchers, the drop in the temperature might be influenced by several factors like change in height, weight, lifestyle habit and availability of the better medical facility.

A report in Time quoting Parsonnet says, “In previous studies people who found lower temperatures [in more recent times] thought the temperatures taken in the 19th century were just wrong. I don’t think they were wrong; I think the temperature has gone down.”

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