They take your body temperature now just about everywhere because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is ostensibly to ensure that no one who may be ill with the Corona Virus goes out or gets into a crowded area.
But what if someone has a lower natural body temperature? Then maybe they could be feverish but not register a high enough body temperature to be noticed.
Well according to a report in Science Daily researchers have found a decrease in the average human body temperature in the last few decades.
The standard human body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.0 degrees Celsius. This was first established by German physician Carl Wunderlich almost two hundred years ago.
But this could be changing.
A few years ago a study of people in the UK found an average body temperature lower than 97.9°F. Another study in California found an average body temperature of 97.5°F.
Michael Gurven, UC Santa Barbara professor of anthropology and chair of the campus’s Integrative Anthropological Sciences Unit stated, “In less than two decades we’re seeing about the same level of decline as that observed in the U.S. over approximately two centuries.”
So what is causing the decrease in temperatures? Well according to the researchers it may have to do with better health in general.
“One leading hypothesis is that we’ve experienced fewer infections over time due to improved hygiene, clean water, vaccinations and medical treatment,” said Michael Gurven. “In our study, we were able to test that idea directly. We have information on clinical diagnoses and biomarkers of infection and inflammation at the time each patient was seen.”
The research showed more change in societies with better health and hygiene standards.
The researchers cited a number of other possible reasons for the change. It could be due to increased use of anti-inflammatory meds which can keep body temperatures from rising.
Another possible cause could be the increased use of air conditioning.
So what could lower body temperatures mean?
Well, for one thing, it would make it easier to handle the colder weather, but harder to deal with the heat. And this is not a good thing what with global warming and all.
But don’t worry. The change has not been confirmed and it would take centuries for any real changes to become permanent.