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I took my temperature and it read 96.2, what does that mean

Customer Question

I took my temperature and it read 96.2, what does that mean I have? A cold? And what should I take for it?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  SUSIE . replied 11 years ago.

Hi Rmaandrdiya.

Thank you for your question. An adult's "normal" oral temperature ranges from 97.0-99.0 and normal body temperature varies from person to person and varies throughout the day. Many people have subnormal temperatures, meaning temperatures that are lower than "normal."

However, I do want to mention here that it is not the least uncommon for many temperatures, which are registered by using ear thermometers, as well as numerous "digital thermometers" for oral temperatures to NOT be particularly accurate. This is because much depends on the environment where digital thermometers are stored, such as a cool room for example, batteries which are not fresh, etc.

I had a personal experience with 4 different digital thermometers last fall which "drives my point home." I was seriously ill with an apparent wound infection. The first thermometer used was one designed to take temp. on the ear. The reading was around 97. Temp. was at night when temperature is typically higher for anyone. I knew this could not possibly be correct. I was perspiring heavily, hot, flushed, then chilling and freezing. I knew I had a definite fever. I had 2 more oral digital thermometers and tried one with a battery less than one year old and that was also wrong with an even lower reading. I got a new battery the following day--after having been to the Dr. and in the Dr.'s office had a fever of 103 which we knew was correct based on the situation! After I replaced the battery for the old digital thermometer, I continued to have inaccurate readings. I bought another digita oral thermometer and that was also an errorenous reading.

My GP told me that every day he counseled patients about the common inaccuracy of multiple brands of oral/ear digital thermometers--regardless of how inexpensive or expensive the brand! My GP advised me to go to Rite Aid or CVS and get only this brand of thermometer: Geratherm. This is a mercury free but not a digital thermometer and is made by Geratherm Medical AG Germany and made exclusively for R.G. Medical Diagnostics. I bought two of these thermometers and notice they are consistently accurate while the digitals I have tried have consistently been inaccurate.

Therefore, you may well have an inaccurate thermometer if you have a digital type vs. mercury type or something comparable to the Geratherm mentioned above. So, this is one consideration.

The other consideration is that perhaps you have a subnormal temperature at times, this is not uncommon. It does not mean you have a cold and there is nothing that you need to take for a subnormal temperature.

My suggestion would be that you take your temperature again, orally, with a non digital type, oral thermometer perhaps around noon today and not until 30 minutes after having a beverage or food and see what the reading.

Also, if you happened to have taken anything like aspirin, tylenol, ibuprophen, aleve, any of these over the counter antiinflammatory drugs or if you have taken any of the prescription antiinflammatory drugs (Celebrex, etc) and you typically have a temp that is normal or a little lower than normal, it is also possible that if you have taken any of the above listed meds, you could have lowered the temp a little and thus the reading of 96.2.

At 96.2, if this is indeed "accurate," I should think that your body would feel a sense of being cold. My hunch is,having been informed by the GP how inaccurate many of today's brands and types of digital thermometers, that this is quite possibly the culprit and a 96.2 reading, not the actual reading.

I hope the information I have provided has been helpful. If so, please CLICK on the right GREEN "ACCEPT" button. ALso, would appreciate POSITIVE FEEDBACK, always much appreciated. Thank you again for your post.

All the best,


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