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August 5, 1992

Cool Question: Warm Reply-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Washington School of Medicine Seattle

JAMA. 1992;268(5):603. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490050051018

In Reply.  —Dr Kaufman's observations over 60 years are interesting and confirm that some people's morning temperatures may be well below 98.6°F (37°C). Ivy1 measured the oral temperatures of 276 medical students while seated in class between 8 AM and 9 AM and found the lowest to be 96.5°F (35.8°C). With some lectures, this level would presumably be even less! A total of six students (2%) had temperatures below 97°F (36.1°C).The question that the querying physician asked, however, was whether some people's "normal" temperature never exceeds 97°F (36.1°C). Since body temperature rises during the day, with its peak in late afternoon or evening, an accurate answer requires information from studies that have recorded levels throughout the day for many days. In such reports, which I reviewed in my original answer, I could find no cases in which the temperature in healthy adults was consistently below 97°F (36.1°C). I