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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Body Temperature

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Body Temperature
Question: If my body temp is 98.6, and am sitting in a pool of water with a temperature of 85 degrees, why don't I feel cold?

Answer: Feeling cold and losing body heat are not the same thing. The sensation of cold has to do with an inability to keep any part of the body at the desired temperature, usually 98.6 or so. Burning calories and supplying heated blood to an area of the body will keep it at desired temperature and therefore no sensation of cold or chill. Inability to supply heated blood will rapidly lead to the feeling of chill or cold, as will external chilling requiring an additional blood flow to an area. Consequently, vasoconstriction (due to an infection, spasm, etc.) will result in a feeling of chill, whereas a heated tub will not. From a thermodynamic point of view, the 85 degree tub represents a loss of heat from the body to the pool, whereas vasospasm does not. However, the feeling of chill does not have anything to do with thermodynamic flow of heat.
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