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Body Temperatures in the Elderly: A National Study of Physiological, Social, and Environmental Conditions

Br Med J 1973; 1 doi: (Published 27 January 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;1:200

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. R. H. Fox,
  2. Patricia M. Woodward,
  3. A. N. Exton-Smith,
  4. M. F. Green,
  5. D. V. Donnison,
  6. M. H. Wicks


    Two large-scale surveys of body temperatures in elderly people living at home were carried out in the winter of 1972. Most of the homes visited were cold with room temperatures below the minimum recommended by the Department of Health. Deep body temperatures below 35·5°C were found in 10% of those studied, and the difference between the skin temperature and the core temperature was also reduced in this group. Such individuals are at risk of developing hypothermia since they show evidence of some degree of thermoregulatory failure. Further research is needed, but meanwhile there are practical measures that could be taken to reduce the risk of hypothermia in the elderly.