Some 15 or 20 years ago, when I was looking after my bedridden mother, I bought a digital thermometer to keep tabs on the temperature in her bedroom. I’ve still got it, and it’s still working. Last night it was telling me that my bedroom temperature was 15º C – which seemed entirely plausible on what’s been a rather cold day.
I’d never used it to measure my temperature. But since one of the symptoms of Covid-19 is fever, which requires temperature to be measured, I put the probe in my armpit, and then in my mouth under my tongue. It reported a temperature 35º C in both cases. Internal human body temperature is supposed to be 37º C. So I seem to be rather cold. But body temperature varies between people, and during the day:
Why is my temperature so low? Maybe the battery is low? I never changed it. But last year I bought another digital thermometer, hoping to use it to record snow temperatures, but there’s been no snow round here. It’s a bit more precise, recording temperatures at 0.1º C intervals. And I doubt that the battery is flat. I can recharge it if it is. I’ll be interested to see what numbers it comes up with.
I used to have a mercury thermometer. Maybe I still do. If so I’ll try that as well, if I can find it. . Maybe buy a new one if I can’t.
If human core body temperature is 37º C, then measuring it at its edge is bound to produce a lower temperature. Forehead skin temperature is likely to be much nearer ambient air temperature than body core temperature. So how meaningful are the results provided by infra-red thermometers pointed at people’s foreheads by police? After all, they’re measuring skin temperature, not body core temperature. And skin temperature will be a bit above air temperature. So if the police measure your forehead temperature, they’ll actually be measuring your car’s air temperature. They might decide you’re running a fever simply because you keep a warm car.
Equally, I might be seeing low temperatures because I keep a cold flat with hardly any heating. That’s the way I like it. Warmth sends me to sleep. And maybe that’s why I’m seeing numbers like 35º C: they accurately reflect my environment.
I think I may buy an infra-red thermometer. I almost did a couple of years ago. If I do I could start reporting my forehead surface temperature, and maybe also my room surface temperature.
Hat tip to smokingscot for this report:
Smoking, vaping and hospitalization for COVID-19
The study presents an analysis of the current smoking prevalence among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in China, compared to the population smoking prevalence in China (52.1% in males and 2.7% in females). Through a systematic research of the literature (PubMed) we identified 7 studies examining the clinical characteristics of a total of 2352 hospitalized COVID-19 patients that presented data on the smoking status. The expected number of smokers was calculated using the formula Expected smokers = (males x 0.521) + (females x 0.027). An unusually low prevalence of current smoking was observed among hospitalized COVID-19 patients (8.7%, 95%CI: 7.6-9.9%) compared to the expected prevalence based on smoking prevalence in China (30.3%, 95%CI: 28.4-32.1%; z-statistic: 22.80, P < 0.0001). This preliminary analysis does not support the argument that current smoking is a risk factor for hospitalization for COVID-19, and might even suggest a protective role. The latter could be linked to the down-regulation of ACE2 expression that has been previously known to be induced by smoking. However, other confounding factors need to be considered and the accuracy of the recorded smoking status needs to be determined before making any firm conclusions. As a result, the generalized advice on quitting smoking as a measure to improve health risk remains valid, but no recommendation can currently be made concerning the effects of smoking on the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19. No studies recording e-cigarette use status among hospitalized COVID-19 patients were identified. Thus, no recommendation can be made for e-cigarette users. Keywords. SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, ACE2, expression, susceptibility, smoking, hospitalization, electronic cigarette.
It would seem that the authors agree that the data from several (7) studies “might even suggest a protective role” for smoking against the new coronavirus, possibly due to “the down-regulation of ACE2 expression that has been previously known to be induced by smoking.”
This contradicts recent media suggestions that smokers are at greater risk than non-smokers.