Normal body temperatures vary depending on many factors, including a person’s age, sex, and activity levels.
The normal body temperature for an adult is around 98.6°F (37°C), but every person’s baseline body temperature is slightly different, and may consistently be a little higher or lower.
In this article, we discuss the normal ranges of temperature for adults, children, and babies. We also consider factors affecting body temperature, and when to call a doctor.
Normal body temperature chart
Body temperature readings vary depending on where on the body a person takes the measurements. Rectal readings are higher than oral readings, while armpit readings tend to be lower.
The table below gives the normal ranges of body temperature for adults and children according to a thermometer manufacturer:
|Type of reading||0–2 years||3–10 years||11–65 years||Over 65 years|
|Oral||95.9–99.5°F (35.5–37.5°C)||95.9–99.5°F (35.5–37.5°C)||97.6–99.6°F (36.4–37.6°C)||96.4–98.5°F (35.8–36.9°C)|
|Rectal||97.9–100.4°F (36.6–38°C)||97.9–100.4°F (36.6–38°C)||98.6–100.6°F (37.0–38.1°C)||97.1–99.2°F (36.2–37.3°C)|
|Armpit||94.5–99.1°F (34.7–37.3°C)||96.6–98.0°F (35.9–36.7°C)||95.3–98.4°F (35.2–36.9°C)||96.0–97.4°F (35.6–36.3°C)|
|Ear||97.5–100.4°F (36.4–38°C)||97.0–100.0°F (36.1–37.8°C)||96.6–99.7°F (35.9–37.6°C)||96.4–99.5°F (35.8–37.5°C)|
Normal body temperature readings will vary within these ranges depending on the following factors:
How to take your temperature
There are many types of thermometers available, and the best method depends on a person’s age:
|0 to 3 months||Rectal|
|3 months to 3 years||Rectal, ear, or armpit|
|4 to 5 years||Oral, rectal, ear, or armpit|
|5 years to adult||Oral, ear, or armpit|
Follow the instructions on the thermometer package.
If a temperature reading is unusually high or low, take another reading after about 5 to 10 minutes. If someone is unsure the reading is correct, they can take another reading with a different thermometer.