Our Average Body Temperatures Are Dropping
One of the costs of progress is having to let go of things that we have long held as cold, hard facts in the world.
The latest? The number 98.6.
Most of us know, as soon as we see it, that it represents what we've always been told is the optimum body temperature for most people.
Anything higher than that is considered a fever. Anything lower can signal a whole host of other medical issues.
But now, a report in the Wall Street Journal says it's time to embrace a new number - 97.5
That's the new 'normal' body temperature average, according to a team of researchers at Stanford University.
They looked at the 1869 data used by German physician Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich to come up with the 98.6 standard and tested it in today's ever-changing world.
What they found is that as we grow taller, get fatter, and live longer than previous generations, adjustments need to be made for the modern human body.
Technology also plays a big role.
Gone are the old mercury-filled glass tubes that we slip under our tongues for three minutes. We now have a wider variety of ways to accurately calculate our temps with far greater speed and accuracy.