IT IS IMPORTANT to know fact from fiction when it comes to fevers and internal
body temperature. Fever is a common symptom of the seasonal flu, and separating the
myths from the facts allows people to receive
the care that their symptoms require.
COMSTOCK/JUPI TER IMAGES
MYTH: 98.6 is normal.
Most parents assume when their child’s
temperature goes above 98.6 degrees
Fahrenheit he or she is running a fever.
However, a child’s internal body temperature
is generally higher than an adult’s. In addi-
tion, everyone’s internal body temperature is
different and can vary from hour to hour,
depending on age, physical activity, general
health and immediate surroundings
As we age, we cool. An article from the
Journal of Clinical Nursing reported that a
study performed on adults 60 and older
showed that as people age their core temperature can drop as much as 1 degree. One of
the major factors leading to this drop is inactivity, or lack of exercise.
The idea that 98.6 is one’s internal temperature stems from a study conducted more
than 100 years ago. Primitive thermometers
were used and they were not nearly as accurate as the thermometers of today.
MYTH: Without treatment,
fevers will keep going higher.
Thankfully, the body does have a ceiling
on internal temperature. Due to the brain’s
thermostat, fevers from infection (such as
the flu) top out at 103 to 104 degrees and,
though possible, will rarely go higher.
MYTH: Taking a cold
bath can lower your
Oddly enough, taking a cold
bath can have the opposite
effect—it may cause you to shiver
due to the cold, which would
actually raise your internal temperature and make the fever worse.
MYTH: Feed a cold, starve a fever.
This isn’t any more correct than “starve a
cold, feed a fever.” A fever will cause your body
to lose fluids through sweating and breathing.
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Starting in July*, you’ll ;nd new DEPEND® Underwear packaging on shelves
at Costco. The underwear will still have the best ;t and protection
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*Exact timing may vary by warehouse location. ® Registered trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. © 2010 KCW W.