Why are we feeling hot when outside temperature is 36C? Isn't our body temperature 36C?

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besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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36 degrees Celsius converts to 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The normal body temperature of a human is 98.6 degrees which would be 37 degrees Celsius.

Things like clothing can retain heat in the summertime when it is very hot outside which makes us feel hot and causes us to sweat. Strenuous activity also makes us feel this way.

The temperature in the body is controlled by a mechanism called thermoregulation. It acts like an automatic control system and responds to negative feedback.

Temperature sensors throughout the body respond to the central controller in the medial preoptic/anterior hypothalamic region of the brainstem, which then adjusts heat production and loss accordingly.

Thermoregulation assists us in maintaining the correct temperature regardless of external conditions. Some external conditions would consist of temperature, vapor pressure, air velocity, and insulation.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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In normal health, our body maintains internal temperature of about 37 degrees celsius, irespective of the temperature around us. Thus our feeling hot or cold is not related to the temperature of the body, but to the amount of extra heat we need to generate to keep the body warm in cold environment, and the extra heat we need to remove from the body to keep it cool in hot environments.

Our body is constantly generating energy to maintain its internal functions as well as for doing external work. Additional heat generated in this process must be released to the environment to to maintain the body temperature at 37 degrees Celsius, even when the outside temperature is 37 degrees or lower.

Humans, wearing light clothing, and not engaged in any vigorous physical activity, feel most comfortable when the environmental temperature is about 20 degrees Celsius. At temperatures lower than this, we feel cold and need to protect ourselves by means such as extra clothing. As the environmental temperature rises above 20 degrees we start feeling less comfortable, as body needs to employ additional mechanisms such as air circulation and sweating to maintain the body temperature at the optimum level.

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