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How do you determine temperature cutoffs for women's body-temperature?

by ChristianKl1 min read8th Apr 20205 comments

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Coronavirus
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I do have a female primary partner with whom I'm not cohabating. Even through I'm mostly in quarantine and my partner is as well, I do want to minimze the risk of getting COVID-19.

Given that fever is frequent in most cases of COVID-19, I consider daily temperature measurement a good way to decide whether or not to see my partner. I likely want to use a relatively low value because I'm more afraid of false negatives then false positives.

For women the temperature fluctuates during the cycle and I haven't read much about that. How do I set a good cutoff for abnormal temperatures for a woman?

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2 Answers

Search for "basal body temperature centigrade" (I don't think you need to add female to the search but ...) Look at images and you'll get a lot of graphs.

Knowing when an increase in temp. would be expected for your partner is valuable information.

Daily tracking will show what's "normal" for an individual - using a consistent method to take temperature.

When tracking menstrual cycles it's recommended for a woman to take her temperature first thing in morning (Basal body temperature is the lowest temperature attained by the body which happens during sleep). Temp's don't go above 37.1C on the graphs I've looked at.

I’m not a doctor, but since public health authorities don’t recommend sex-specific temperature standards, why would you? The common cutoff for fever is 100.4 F, which allows margin for the ~1 degree fluctuation around “normal” that some women experience.

I agree with the other poster that some people have unusual “normal” temperatures—mine is around 97.5 when healthy—but that’s unlikely to help you since your partner probably doesn’t have baseline healthy temperature data.