Science Questions

What are the causes of a low body temperature?

Sat, 5th Apr 2008

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Richard, Belgium asked:

My future mother-in-law has a normal body temperature of 35 degrees [Celsius]. When she has 37 degrees sheís suffering from a heavy fever. How can it be that some peopleís body temperature is significantly lower than the 37 degrees that we assume is normal? Could it be that sheís evolving back into a reptile?


I think this is about where the temperature has been taken from. Normally with your standard thermometer it is put either under the tongue or under the armpit. This is your peripheral temperature. Although these are reasonable estimates of what your core body temperature is itís still an area of your body thatís exposed to outside temperatures so itís going to be slightly cooler. A more accurate measurement would come from a rectal thermometer. Also, before you get carried away in the hospitals these days they use an infrared-sensitive thermometer that you may have seen, You put it into the ear and it beeps. Itíll take your temperature pretty much instantaneously. Thatís just detecting infrared detected from the ear drum. Itís a dark cavernous place, it wonít be affected by any of the external infrared because obviously there are infrared rays bouncing about all around us. I donít think sheís evolving back into a reptile.


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