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Name: jacqui
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Question:
If one's internal body temperature is approximately 98.6, WHY when the external temperature is 98.6 do we feel hot? Since both temperatures are "balanced", shouldn't we feel comfortable? I am assuming here that humidity levels are controlled, and play no factor in the external temperature.



Replies:
First of all, skin temperature is lower than 98.6F; 98.6F is internal body temperature, so air at 98.6F is hotter than skin. But more important, it is the nervous system, and the cells in your skin that your brain uses to detect temperature that determine whether you "feel" hot or not, not whether the air is hotter than your skin. These are set so that you feel hot when the air is actually colder than your skin. Why? They are probably set to make you feel hot whenever the air is warm enough so that your body has some trouble getting rid of the excess heat it produces through metabolism. This insures that you take some actions to help your body cool off. Like drinking cool water, or reducing exercise.

--ProfBill



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