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Looking for an explanation on cold weather resistance on humans

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by sebanaj, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. sebanaj

    sebanaj Chieftain

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    I couldn't find anything about this on the Internet.
    Does exposure to cold weather generate more resistance?

    Usually I don't suffer from cold weather, even at 1 or 2 Cº. Thus, people treat me like if I was mad when I use summer clothes on winter. I always have to explain I have some kind of resistance. People may ask themselves: "how mad this guy is?".
    Why am I not seen as having a simple advantage, instead of using generalizations about how should I act or what I should wear? It's like they ignore that a different individual may have different characteristics. If everyone else suffers, doesn't mean I suffer too.
    Usually I'm told, "you should wear winter clothes, because everyone else wears them or they could think you're stupid".
     
  2. Olleus

    Olleus Chieftain

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    Whether or not your brain feels the cold and tells you that you are cold, your body sufferes from the cold. This increases the chances that you will fall ill, and could have some other nasty consequences. You might not realise that you are cold, but your body most probably does.

    For example, if you have a table and you set in a fire, the table wont know that its hot, but its still going to do it some bad.
     
  3. Masquerouge

    Masquerouge Chieftain

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    I remember reading a book written by a dude who used to to treks across the Antartica. He was explaining how, after a day spent walking in -50 degrees celsius, he was naked and way too hot in his tent where it was 0 degrees celsius, 32 Farenheit.
     
  4. Mirc

    Mirc Not mIRC!!!

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    0 degrees Celsius doesn't equal -32 F... :dubious:

    Edit: Ah sorry I guess you meant 32 F. :)
     
  5. Dubai Vol

    Dubai Vol Chieftain

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    I get the same thing. Winter runs in Germany, everyone bundled up but I wore shorts and a t-shirt. I would have been too hot wearing more. It's a scientific fact that eskimos have different reactions to cold. Where most people's bodies restrict blood flow to the arms and legs to keep the vital organs warm, eskimos have the opposite reation, and more blood flows to the extremities when it is cold. I'm not eskimo, but I need much less protection from cold than most people.

    Now I live in Dubai, the hottest city on earth. Here when the temp goes below 30 degrees C/86 F, the Indians and Pakistanis wear leather coats and furry hats. Seriously. To them that's cold.
     
  6. Fetus4188

    Fetus4188 Chieftain

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    People do indeed physically adapt to their environment. Over a period of a few years your body will either produce more capillaries toward the surface of your skin in warm environments (and thus vent heat away from the body) or fewer in cold environments (keeping heat in). Psychological adaption is something altogether different and is essentially just the skill of ignoring pain.
     
  7. Globex

    Globex President Scorpio

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    I don't think that cold weather makes you more likely to fall ill. Its just that cold weather causes you to spend more time indoors and in close proximity to other people (increasing transmission of pathogens).
     
  8. Brighteye

    Brighteye intuitively Bayesian

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    Exposure to cold weather increases basal metabolic rate, which is variable. That's the main one. You can also increase your metabolic rate by developing muscle mass and drinking water.
    It also increases the glycerol levels in your cells so that they don't freeze so easily; most cells have a freezing point of -1, but I think that humans can adapt to lower that by 4 degrees, and other animals even further.
    Finally, as others have mentioned, blood supply varies and adapts. I, like you, wear thin clothes in winter and people (especially women) call me crazy and stupid rather than simply accepting that I'm comfortable that way.
    I remember on one occasion in a bunkhouse in Wales we returned from a hike and no-one else could undo their laces, so after I had changed they all stared pitifully at me until I went round and undid everyone's boots for them, because my hands still moved, but theirs were too cold for fine manipulation.
     
  9. Mirc

    Mirc Not mIRC!!!

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    You're so lucky to be like that - I have to wear a (sort of) thick jacket at 18 degrees Celsius, anything below 10 and I start shivering like mad if I'm outside for more than 15-20 minutes or so. Why can't I adapt to cold weather? :( I was feeling great last month in Las Vegas at 43 degrees. Of course, I didn't stay in the sun, but not because of the heat - only because I would have got burned very fast.
     
  10. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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    I think if you're healthy and under normal circumstances your body usually know best if it's too cold or too hot. Your body tries to keep its temperature constant and a feeling of too cold or too hot means that it is struggling to keep its temperature.

    If your body is able to maintain its temperature without much clothing even if its cold, because it either has high metabolism or low heat conduction then there is nothing wrong with wearing summer clothes. However you should make sure that really no part is cold (especially when doing sports in winter you have to cover the "inactive" parts, which get cold quickly, but you must not cover the active parts too much). And you really have to feel warm, instead of ignoring the cold feeling.

    And exposure to cold weather can indeed get you resistance to cold weather. I notice this every year, that the same temperature that has me shivering in fall is the one that feels really warm in spring, when the winter is finally over.

    There are exceptions of course: If you have a cold or other germs that thrive in cold enviroments, then you should really err on the warm side of clothing. You're not helping your body fighting those germs if you expose it to temperatures the germs like.
     
  11. Brighteye

    Brighteye intuitively Bayesian

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    The germs like warm temperatures. Sadly your body does too, when it's ill; you need to become feverish.
     
  12. stee

    stee 将軍職

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    I don't know about you guys but I'm allergic to the cold. I get runny noses, sometimes my temperature goes up, and I get tired easily.
     
  13. sebanaj

    sebanaj Chieftain

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    Well i guess it depends on each individual. Thanks for all your replies. They have been very useful. :D
     
  14. sebanaj

    sebanaj Chieftain

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    Social facts are causing natural facts?
     
  15. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Chieftain

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    This is interesting because I am extremely resistant to cold too. This is not a matter of my body being cold and my brain simply not knowing it as someone suggested above. I can easily go out in temperatures of about 10 degrees Fahrenheit with only a light shirt on as long as there isn't strong winds. Every year as temperatures drop, people ask me every day why I'm not all bundled up like them. I usually just tell them that if I wore the type of clothes they were wearing, I would be so hot that I would be sweating profusely and sweating is something you definitely want to avoid in cold weather. If my brain simply wasn't aware that my body was cold as someone suggested above, I would not be sweating. In fact, I really do get hot in cold weather. If I am doing anything physical, I can go to even lower temperatures. I would not even think of wearing even a light jacket at temperatures above, say, 35 degrees Fahrenheit (yes, Fahrenheit!) or so unless the wind was blowing hard. I almost never wear gloves and I never wear a hat. The only time I wear gloves in in extreme cold - about 0 Fahrenheit or below or maybe 10 degrees F if the wind is blowing strongly.

    Before my late mother died, she told me that when I was a very small child, she would send me out to play in the winter all bundled up and then she would look out the window and see that I had taken most of my winter clothes off. She finally realized that I was OK and I simply was extremely resistant to cold.

    Some people who ask me why I'm not all bundled up try to tell me that my brain simply isn't aware that I am cold. That is pure nonsense. My fingers are not only not cold but I can perform delicate manipulations with them and my sense of touch is normal.

    I have 9 grandchildren. One of them is exactly like me in this regard so I believe there may be a genetic component involved here.

    Something else: Because I am extremely tolerant of cold, I don't put on more clothes when everyone else begins to do so in the fall. I suspect that because I don't bundle up, I begin to acclimate as the temperatures drop while people who bundle up as soon as the weather gets cool do not acclimate as I do.

    An odd thing happens to me in extremely cold weather. Say it is 0 Fahrenheit and I am not wearing gloves (as usual). When I first go outside in conditions like that, my hands may feel a bit cold for the first few minutes. Then the odd thing happens. A feeling of warmth suddenly comes over my hands and then I'm fine. It's as if my brain sends a signal to send more blood to my hands. My wife once joked that that feeling of warmth was merely my hands going numb. That is not the case because, as I said, I can do intricate and delicate work with my fingers and my feeling of touch is normal.

    I believe that this is partially a genetic trait but I also know that it has to do with how people acclimate. I say this because I went to an outdoor auction once where the temperatures in my area dropped to a record low of -70 F with the windchill and the wind was blowing strongly. That was one of the rare occasions when I actually wore gloves and a hat. But there were other men there who work outside - farmers, construction workers, etc. Many of them only had on overalls and a nylon vest. Some of them had no gloves or hats. They were dressed in a way that most people would feel cold if the temperature was in the 50s or 60s. They were far more cold tolerant that I am and I believe that is because they work outside and allow themselves to acclimate. The temperature was so bitterly cold that day that a "normal" person may have experienced frostbite on any exposed skin in a matter of minutes.

    The reason I found this thread is that I looked up this subject out of curiosity because this is the time of year when I have to explain to others every day why I'm not dressed like them. It gets very irritating. If you see someone that doesn't have to dress up like you do, don't ask them why. It's like asking a tall person how the weather is up there. We can get sick of having to explain ourselves to everyone constantly. There really are people that are extremely tolerant of cold.
     
  16. TomYo689

    TomYo689 Chieftain

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    The way you feel is large part mental. It's like if you don't feel pain when you have a big cut. Personal sensitivity slightly changes hour to hour year to year
     
  17. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    Brown fat:
    thermogenesis

    There may be some pain receptor involvement in endurance test, but living beings resisting freezing is a real issue of maintaining core body temperature. Dropping significantly below 98 Fahrenheit is medical emergency.


    There's also such things as heat-shock proteins and cold-shock proteins, although I don't think they have functional relevance to the above topics. It would be neat if you were a mutant and could donate some cells to science, though.
     
  18. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Why does it have to be some kind of mind screw? Maybe people with greater cold toleration have better blood flow, or better insulation? Maybe hot vs. cold has degrees of preference not unlike taste?
     

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