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Question:
A human's body temperature is about 37 degrees C. On a hot summer day, when the air temperature is 33 degrees C, why does it feel warm to us when we are hotter on the inside than the outside?



Replies:
Several reasons. One is that sunshine warms the skin directly. Another is that the brain tells you to feel warm or cold not just based on the temperature difference between your body and the air, but based on special cells in the skin that signal the brain what the temperature is. The responses of these cells is not just based on skin temperature and air temperature, but in part on a prediction of your body's need to start behaviors that will help it get rid of heat building up inside. So when it's 33C outside, it is difficult for you to get rid of heat fast enough, even though the body is warmer than the air, so your brain tells you to feel hot, and to sweat, etc, etc.

--ProfBill



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