The body cools itself using one of the following methods to transfer
- Evaporation (sweating).
This method is important when the air is warmer than
68°F (20°C). Evaporation during
strenuous exercise helps the body lose most of the excess heat produced by the
activity. Sweating is not as effective in a humid environment. Sweat that drips
off the body does not transfer as much heat away from the body as sweat that
evaporates from the skin.
- Radiation (similar
to heat leaving a woodstove). This occurs when the air temperature is lower
than body temperature. Radiation helps cool the body but is less effective when
the air is warmer.
- Conduction (such as
sleeping on cold ground or swimming in cool water). Cool air does not help the
body cool very quickly. But the body can quickly lose heat when it is
exposed to cool water.
- Convection (such as
sitting in front of a fan or standing in the wind). Convection helps cool the
body but is less effective when the air is warmer.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||September 1, 2011|