Naked Science Forum

General Science => General Science => Topic started by: Ciaran on 18/10/2009 14:30:02

Title: Why do some people tolerate hot weather better than others?
Post by: Ciaran on 18/10/2009 14:30:02
Ciaran asked the Naked Scientists:
Dear Dr. Chris

I can't wait for autumn because I really can't stand high temperatures. Why is it that some people love hot weather but others, like me just feel grumpy, sweaty and uncomfortable? Is there anything you can do to make your body more tolerant to the heat? 

All the best,

What do you think?
Title: Why do some people tolerate hot weather better than others?
Post by: Karsten on 21/10/2009 01:12:19
 To a certain extend you might be able to adjust to hot/humid weather by exposing yourself to even hotter/more humid weather for a while. Once you have suffered under worse conditions, you might find returning to the weather you thought to be uncomfortable rather refreshing.

I can also imagine that some people sweat better than others. Other bodies may be able to better regulate heat loss and therefore find cooler temperatures more tolerable. Being big is probably a disadvantage since you loose less heat per volume than a small/skinny person. Of course that makes being big an advantage in colder places.

Personally, I keep warm clothes on as long as possible when summer arrives. That way I can take off clothes for a longer time. Once you are used to shorts and T-shirt by May it gets difficult in July. When winter arrives I do the opposite. It seems to work, but that may be just all in my head.
Title: Why do some people tolerate hot weather better than others?
Post by: JimBob on 21/10/2009 02:39:33
The physiology is beyond me but I do know that some medications can lower the tolerance to heat. It has some relationship to the efficiency of the circulatory system. The more efficient, the better a person tolerates heat - the body gets more blood to the areas where heat can be eliminated. I am aware of this one particular reason as one of my blood pressure medications lowers my ability to tolerate heat. There are probably others.
Title: Why do some people tolerate hot weather better than others?
Post by: Eric A. Taylor on 22/10/2009 13:20:02
I think it comes down to what sort of weather you grew up in. I grew up in California, near San Francisco, where winter weather hardly ever got below freezing, it only snowed twice there in the 20 years I lived there and then just a few inches. Summers were near the century mark but humidity was very low. When working in Yellowstone a few years ago I had a room mate from Florida. I thought the weather was very nice. Mostly upper 80's or low 90's but my room mate was miserable. His skin dried out and his lips chapped really badly. I've been to London (even saw the Queen by accident) and found it way to humid. London did remind me a lot of SF except everyone driving on the left side and the cab drivers were extremely pleasant and even spoke English....well sort of.

I work as a welder and sometimes you have to work inside a heated vessel. Some alloys need to be heated to around 350 F or more before being welded. It's possible to work in such an environment but you need to prepare by a cold soak and drinking lots and lots of water (but NOT ice water) first. While inside you need to pay very close attention to your body and ensure you breath ONLY through your nose, but it's possible to stay in for 10 or 15 minutes. Also you need to wear heavy protective clothing, which you remove (with gloves) as soon as you exit. After working for 10 minutes in a 350 F environment 110 feels really nice, 65 is freezing!!!!

  Breath air that hot can burn your lungs and even a minor burn in your lungs will cause fluid build up very rapidly, then you die rather unpleasantly. This is why it's so important not to breath through your mouth. Nose  breathing gives the air time to cool before it gets to your lungs. Trust me, take even a tiny breath of hot air and you are rapidly reminded to breath through your nose.

  I head that someone performed an experiment, exposing nude volunteers to 500 F. They used masks that cooled the air for breathing but were otherwise nude. i suspect this is an urban legend.