Why has our normal body temperature been dropping?

Feeling under the weather? Chances are you or your doctor will grab a thermometer, take your temperature and hope for the familiar 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) everyone recognizes as “normal.”

But what is normal and why does it matter? Despite the fixation on 98.6 F, clinicians recognize that there is no single universal “normal” body temperature for everyone at all times. Throughout the day, your body temperature can vary by as much as 1 F, at its lowest in the early morning and highest in the late afternoon. It changes when you are sick, goes up during and after exercise, varies across the menstrual cycle and varies between individuals. It also tends to decline with age.

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