Sometime during the 19th century, a German doctor concluded research showing that the normal healthy human body temperature was 98.6°F. More recent research suggests that 98.2° is more the norm. Because I’m just a few steps beyond normal, my average temperature is closer to 97.9°.
I’ve often wondered if my lower body temperature explains why I always feel so cold. Even in the summertime, I’m bundled in blankets anytime I sit down for more than a few minutes. I could easily live without air conditioning and when I’m home alone, I keep the thermostat set on 80°. I rarely sweat which made menopausal hot flashes an unpleasant surprise.
Now that I have an autoimmune disease, dealing with the cold is even tougher. My feet and hands get so cold that it is painful. I find myself avoiding situations where I have no control over the room temperature. When I travel with friends, I prefer to get my own room. One of my friends seems insulted by this but it just needs to be that way. I even passed up a week at the beach with friends because huddling on my bed while trying to prevent hypothermia was not my idea of a good time and I knew the house would be too cold for me to tolerate. I’d gone the year before and, quite frankly, I was miserable being inside. I do not expect all of my friends to suffer from heat stroke just so I can be comfortable so it’s a situation I simply avoid.
As I get older, I worry that the problem will only worsen. The elderly are particularly susceptible to the struggle of maintaining a body temperature in the normal range. Heating pads and fleece sheets are already my best friends and I love the little Hothands hand and toe warmers that slip into my mittens and boots. A few years ago, I treated myself to a heated towel bar for my bathroom. In my next life, I’m going to have a house with heated floors.