To the Editor.
—The article by Mackowiak et al1 represents an important step toward removing the mythical status of 37.0°C (98.6°F) as a marker that distinguishes health from disease. However, I believe that the meaningful interpretation of oral temperature readings requires greater subtlety than the article suggests.I have a long-standing personal interest in this subject. As an MD/PhD student who is particularly prone to acute and chronic viral and bacterial infections, I have maintained daily temperature records during health and illness in an attempt to establish a practical standard for my own personal use. When I am relatively healthy, my temperature ranges from a low of about 36.3°C (97.4°F) to a high of about 36.8°C (98.4°F) in the afternoon or evening. These values are only slightly below the mean values reported by Mackowiak et al and are well within the reported range; my diurnal oscillation in temperature also
Weiger WA. 98.6°F. JAMA. 1993;269(10):1249. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500100047012