what does low body temp mean?? DD 35.5...advice please

(48 Posts)
Champersonice Tue 03-May-11 23:36:01

What does it mean to have low body temperature? My DD (3) awoke saying she was cold with sore throat and stomach pains. She felt cold to the touch. Her thermoscan temp was 35.7 - gave her paracetamol - fifteen mins later temp was 35.5...what does it mean?? She is normally 36.5 and has never been below that. Any advice greatly received.

squeakytoy Tue 03-May-11 23:39:14

that is quite low. I would call NHS direct for some proper medical advice. Keep her wrapped up and warm.

keepingupwiththejoneses Tue 03-May-11 23:41:59

GP told me that 35-37 is quite normal.

Champersonice Tue 03-May-11 23:42:16

Am talking to them now -she is now 35.3!!!

squeakytoy Tue 03-May-11 23:42:31

sorry, pressed post too early.

It isnt exceptionally low though, and the paracetamol may have caused it to drop that extra bit. Just keep an eye on her and if it carries on dropping, then definately get her checked out.

bubbleymummy Tue 03-May-11 23:44:37

I think the body temp can drop to fight illness just as it can rise - it's something to do with creating a hostile environment that the virus/bacteria can't survive in. My DS2 gets low temps sometimes - it's very strange. I usually get into bed with him and snuggle us both up until it rises up a bit. Maybe a hot water bottle would help too. How is she behaving? Manuka honey is good for sore throats - or just ordinary honey and a warm drink which would also help to warm her up.

lulalullabye Tue 03-May-11 23:59:21

Her temp is ok. That is not a temperature to worry about. As said earlier the paracetamol will have brought it down. As regards to sore throat and tummy ache, often the tummy ache goes hand in hand with the sore throat. Also rashes that are caused by the viral infection. Just keep an eye and take to docs if temp really high.

Champersonice Tue 03-May-11 23:59:30

Gone down to 35.2 - NHS Direct seem to think she is ok and told me to put the thermometer down and trust my hand for her body temp. I don't know...I feel a little happier having spoken to them but still a bit worried (or should that read paranoid??)

Champersonice Wed 04-May-11 00:02:43

Thanks for posts. I think the reason I got concerned is due to the fact I have experienced many times her having a high temp but never low. I am not sure I even know what a low temp means?? I did think it was probably related to the sore throat and stomach pains - she probably is coming down with something and it so happens that her temp is dropping as opposed to rising. Oh dear, this parenting lark is a bit too much on the old stress levels at times, isn't it?

IgnoringTheChildren Wed 04-May-11 00:12:28

Scan thermometers aren't actually reading your core body temp and can be a bit unreliable, although they are usually a pretty good indication of temp for hot-headed little ones. My scan thermometer often doesn't register a temp for me at all (only does temps higher than 33 I think - I know that my core temp has not dropped that low!) and has occasionally read low for my DSs.

Hope that your DD feels better soon.

Champersonice Wed 04-May-11 09:43:39

Thanks. Just to let you know, her temp kept dropping but NHS Direct were not alarmed and said not to worry. Typical as kids are though; this morning she was right as rain and as if nothing had ever happened. Keeps me on my toes though...

bamboobutton Wed 04-May-11 09:51:42

my temp seems to go down when i'm ill. i can be feeling like death and the thermometer says 34degrees.

my temp has gone over 38d only a few times and that was when i had flu and a cold bad enough to seem like flu.

my normal body temp is about 35.5. i've googled to see if this means anything(anemia etc.) and lots of other people seem to get low temps too.

Bogeyface Wed 04-May-11 09:57:31


do you have problems with your temp with doctors?

My normal temp is about 35.5 too and when I went to the doctors with a suspected infection it was 37.5. I told the doctor that that was high for me but he said no, it was perfectly normal and I had no infection.

Except I did and had to wait another few days of feeling like death before someone would believe me that I did, for me, have a temperature.

zeno Wed 04-May-11 09:58:47

Not to be alarmist, but I strongly encourage you to get your dd seen if her temp is still 35ish.

If her hands and feet become abnormally cold you should get her seen urgently.

Both these may be signs of shock from an illness that may have few or no other obvious symptoms. 35.something is a worryingly low temp and she needs to be seen.

deardoctor Wed 04-May-11 10:02:02

Mine is 35.5 all the time. Bogeyface - I was in hospital after my waters broke and my temp was creeping towards 38, I told them about a million times I had an infection and they wouldn't bloody listen until I was really really unwell - it still never climbed above 38.5!

belgo Wed 04-May-11 10:02:24

It means she is cold or the thermometer isn;t accurate.

I wouldn't worry about her temperature, but look at her and see how she is in herself.

Is she feeling any better? Has she eaten anything?

I wouldn't give any more paracetamol if she had stomach pains.

NeverKissPigs Wed 04-May-11 10:03:52

Sorry, what thermometer are you using? I'm not sure what a thermoscan is?

NHS are right that you should be led by how she feels against your normal temp. It's possible that your thermometer (whatever it is) is broken. I think ear ones are fairly accurate, oral quite good and if underarm you add a degree to whatever it says. Any forehead type strip thing is about as useful as a piece of litmus paper.

I'm glad she's much better today. Worrying when they do that late at night, no idea what's up but something is thing.

Champersonice Wed 04-May-11 10:06:15

Thanks for concern zeno. I was of the same mind - wondering whether it was something more serious but as I said, the nurse at NHS Direct was not alarmed at all. No other dangerous symptons and the main thing is, the back of her neck was warm, her breathing was rythmic and stable and she was not drowsy. Although, it was a low reading for my DD, I was assured that it wasn't too low. She was fine this morning so I will just keep an eye on her.

I really appreciate all the posts. Many thanks to you all.

NeverKissPigs Wed 04-May-11 10:06:15

They don't like people outside the norm do they? DH has a resting heartrate of 42ish and they look at him like he's halfway to a coma. In fact he's just super fit. If his resting heartrate was 60, he would be ill but they wouldn't accept it. Similarly, I have a low bp and they flap and worry when it's reading low and won't believe me if it goes up in pregnancy. But my regular gp is unconcerned having known me (and all the women in my family who are exactly the same) for years.

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 04-May-11 10:06:16

My normal body temperature is around 35.5 too. (I have low body temperature, low blood pressure and a slow heartbeat!) I have been feeling really ill with some gastric bug for the past few days as my temperature has been around 39.5. Which is high by anyone's standards, but especially so for me.

My normal temp is also 35.5, I also have very low blood pressure and have been told the two often go hand in hand.

Glad to hear your dd is on the mend op.

Georgimama Wed 04-May-11 10:06:51

My temperature if taken with an ear thermometer rarely rises above 36. It is usually about 35.6. 38.5 would be a really high temperature for me. For DS who runs a bit hotter 38.5 wouldn't be a concern.

If you are using forehead strips ditch them and get a digital ear one.

Georgimama Wed 04-May-11 10:07:32

I also have low blood pressure - at 27 weeks pregnant and 2 stone overweight it is still only 110/60. Interesting to know there is a link.

belgo Wed 04-May-11 10:08:51

Neverkisspigs - a resting heart rate of 42 is low and needs to be checked out, even in someone who is super fit.

NeverKissPigs Wed 04-May-11 10:13:00

DH has always had a resting heartrate of around 45, sometimes slightly lower, sometimes slightly higher but always in the 40s. He has had it checked out (and recently after an accident as they were concerned, not realising it's the norm for him). He is nothing but healthy.

His regular GP, trainers etc are not in the least bit concerned. He cycles 25 miles to work daily (and back), swims 4 times a week, runs 3 times and does resistance training twice. He does regular triathlons/half marathons. He IS just fit. His training partner's is 41. They're both completely mad.

At the peak of fitness, Lance Armstrong's resting heart rate was 32 you know.

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 04-May-11 10:13:23

My resting heart rate is usually around 60. It dropped to around 40 when I was in hospital once and they slapped a heart monitor on me.

NeverKissPigs Wed 04-May-11 10:14:34

Because it IS low and is of concern if it's normally higher MrsS.

But if you're a competitive athlete (which dh is), it's nothing to worry about if deemed fine by a doc.

Georgimama Wed 04-May-11 10:14:47

That's a concern I have actually - if my BP went up to say, 130/75 that would be very high for me and I would be worried there was a problem; a MW may be dismissive. Hope it doesn't happen.

NeverKissPigs Wed 04-May-11 10:16:14

"Resting heart rate averages 60 to 80 beats per minute. In middle-aged, unconditioned, sedentary individuals the resting rate can exceed 100 beats per minute. In highly conditioned endurance-trained athletes, such as Olympic cross-country skiers, resting rates in the range of 28 to 40 beats per minute have been reported. Your resting heart rate typically de-creases with age. It is also affected by environmental factors; for example, it increases with extremes in temperature and altitude."

NeverKissPigs Wed 04-May-11 10:17:01

Georgi, you just have to be clear. I told them at my booking appointment what my usual bp was and made sure they noted it.

Champersonice Wed 04-May-11 10:17:33

Thermoscan is one of these http://www.kaz-europe.com/braun-thermoscan-4520/ and is taken from the ear.

The nurse said that I had done everything right and that a low temp should be treated in the same way as a high temp - giving her paracetamol was spot on apparently.

Anyway, she woke this morning full of beans. They always manage to do that don't they? Worry the living daylights out of us parents and then wake up as though nothing had happened!!

NeverKissPigs Wed 04-May-11 10:19:19

As others have said a low temp is often the same as a high temp, the body fighting something.

Painkillers should be given if the temp is accompanied by discomfort/pain etc.

One of my yoga teachers resting BPM is 29, I have taken it myself as I have all of us who didn't believe hergrin

bamboobutton Wed 04-May-11 11:22:06

bogeyface- i've never been ill enough for GPs to take my temp but now i know i need to mention it if i do!

zeno Wed 04-May-11 13:24:19

Champers it's reassuring to hear that you were asked about her breathing rate and drowsiness etc.

I confess to feeling rather cross with people talking about their normal adult temp. Champers is asking about a child with an abnormally low temp, which is most definitely something that should be discussed at the very least with a medical professional who knows what other signs to look out for.

It's something that isn't well known amongst parents, but abnormally low body temp in a child can be an indicator of serious illness, especially when accompanied with irregular or shallow breathing and/or cold extremities.

I'm just saying, it's not something that is safe to disregard.

Bogeyface Wed 04-May-11 13:28:36

No it isnt something that is safe to disregard in a child who normally has a normal temperature.

Myself and the other posters were merely pointing out that a low temp isnt neccesarily indicative of illness if it is your normal temp and can actually cause problems in its own right of misdiagnosis of problems.

Champersonice Wed 04-May-11 13:45:01

Hey, Zeno and Bogeyface (great name by the way!), thanks for posts.

You are both right - it isn't something that should not be disregarded and that is why I sought professional advice last night and called NHS Direct. If I hadn't been entirely happy with the outcome I surely would have taken my DD to A&E. Thanfully, it didn't get to that.

Btw, it was the fact that her temp was very low - she has never gone below 36.5 in the past. I have quite often dealt with the opposite and have had her temp hit 40 - and at five weeks old so was admitted to hospital sad

At one point, the thermoscan read 34.8 but I quickly ignored it as I think I had incorrectly placed it in her ear. Also, the previous reading was 35.2 and when I did it again, it read 35.2. But my heart did miss a beat or two, I can tell you!!

lulalullabye Thu 05-May-11 01:07:11

You will find that if your child's skin feels warm then they are probably ok. Thermoscans are slightly unreliable as in if they need new batteries they read incorrectly. Anyway I am glad all is well smile

And hey Zeno, I am a medical professional wink

lulalullabye Thu 05-May-11 01:08:40

You will find that if your child's skin feels warm then they are probably ok. Thermoscans are slightly unreliable as in if they need new batteries they read incorrectly. Anyway I am glad all is well smile

And hey Zeno, I am a medical professional wink

Champersonice Thu 05-May-11 09:59:55

Thanks, Lula. Indeed the back of her neck was warm so that made me feel instantly better about the whole thing. As for the thermoscan, what to do because I tested it on me and it showed a normal temp?! Should I just disregard it in that case? Modern technology, eh?? hmm

VeronicaCake Thu 05-May-11 10:40:37

My DD does this when she has infections too. She'll be up at 39 one minute and down to 35 the next. It really worried us the first time it happened because she screamed uncontrollably about it too. My sister who is a nurse told me that when people are hypothermic they can feel as if they are burning up and be in dreadful pain which may be why she was so distressed.

Every time it has happened since then I've snuggled her up and breastfed her to make her comfy as quickly as possible and she usually warms up within a few mins.

So yeah another vote for normal but also heartstopping the first time it happens!

lulalullabye Thu 05-May-11 12:51:01

Also make sure that you either use a new cover or give it a good clean. When you put the probe in her ear, hold the top of her ear and pull upwards. This opens the ear canal. Don't be afraid to push it in the ear canal so it is snug. Try your own how you have been doing it and then try it with your ear pulled up. See if there is a difference.

Champersonice Thu 05-May-11 13:05:12

Thanks for tips, Lula!

zipzap Thu 05-May-11 14:21:19

I've been told too that if you don't have a thermometer to hand, it's better to use your lips to feel the temp of your child rather than your hand, as hands can often get cold or hot and affect the temp of the child you're feeling whereas your lips are much less likely to fluctuate temperature wise (hot/cold food/drinks excepted!)

Does seem to work quite well - especially if you touch your lips to their forehead to feel the temp.

Champersonice Thu 05-May-11 14:34:14

If I use my hand I never use my palm - always the back of it. Although, I do believe that the tops of the fore and index fingers are what you should use. I am sure Lula can advise on this one.

lulalullabye Fri 06-May-11 01:46:04

I tend to put my hand under dd's arm pit. This gives me a good idea of how hot they are. I find that if it that burns my hand then they are generally too hot. In a medical setting then just use a thermometer. I worked in the middle east for two years and there we took all children under two's temperature rectacly. This is the gold standard in anybody but most parents don't like the thought of it. Same goes for rectal paracetamol. Works really quick for most drugs.

killybing Thu 26-Sep-13 15:52:42

My Body temperature taken daily orally can be anything from 35.4 - 35.6 36.3 36.7 and all of these are perfectly normal, only when your body temperature rises above the 38c or below 35 should you really be thinking about seeking medical advice , i'm sorry to say this but there are far too many people who comment and scare others not knowing the true facts.
I am disabled and bed bound most days and take my own blood pressure & temp every day about 4 times a day so I know what to look out for & when I should be thinking about calling the GP as I find far too many people go to the GP unnecessarily nowadays & waste time & money.
Sorry but just my opinion.
Ms Windsor

BergholtStuttleyJohnson Thu 26-Sep-13 16:58:17

My eldest son had a temp of 33 degrees when he was four days old (he was very seriously ill and unresponsive) docs said a virus can make it drop. In his case it wasn't a virus but that can be the cause.

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