Why can cold water feel burning hot if your hands are cold?

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Martin asked the Naked Scientists:

I was wondering why you feel a burning sensation on your skin when you have had very cold hands in winter and then wash your hands with actually pretty cold water. It feels like the cold water is burning hot.

What do you think?


Offline Kryptid

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Why can cold water feel burning hot if your hands are cold?
« Reply #1 on: 24/08/2008 10:27:08 »
You might want to do some confirmation research on my following explanation: In human skin, there are two kinds of nerves that can detect temperature. One of these detects cold, and the other detects warmth. If both of these nerve types are stimulated at the same time, the resulting sensation is hot. You can even trick your nerves to feel hot by putting your hand in cold water then placing it immediately in warm water. The following links may help you understand why cold can feel hot.

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