Predicting deep body temperature (Tb) from forehead skin temperature: Tb or not Tb?

Jason T. Fisher, Urša Ciuha, Michael J. Tipton, Leonidas G. Ioannou, Igor B. Mekjavic*

*Corresponding author for this work

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There is a need to rapidly screen individuals for heat strain and fever using skin temperature (Tsk) as an index of deep body temperature (Tb). This study’s aim was to assess whether Tsk could serve as an accurate and valid index of Tb during a simulated heatwave. Seven participants maintained a continuous schedule over 9-days, in 3-day parts; pre-/post-HW (25.4 °C), simulated-HW (35.4 °C). Contact thermistors measured Tsk (Tforehead, Tfinger); radio pills measured gastrointestinal temperature (Tgi). Proximal-distal temperature gradients (ΔTforehead–finger) were also measured. Measurements were grouped into ambient conditions: 22, 25, and 35 °C. Tgi and Tforehead only displayed a significant relationship in 22 °C (r: 0.591; p < 0.001) and 25 °C (r: 0.408; p < 0.001) conditions. A linear regression of all conditions identified Tforehead and ΔTforehead–finger as significant predictors of Tgi (r2: 0.588; F: 125.771; p < 0.001), producing a root mean square error of 0.26 °C. Additional residual analysis identified Tforehead to be responsible for a plateau in Tgi prediction above 37 °C. Contact Tforehead was shown to be a statistically suitable indicator of Tgi in non-HW conditions; however, an error of ~1 °C makes this physiologically redundant. The measurement of multiple sites may improve Tb prediction, though it is still physiologically unsuitable, especially at higher ambient temperatures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number826
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2022


  • deep body temperature
  • skin temperature
  • heat strain
  • heatwave
  • contact thermography


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