One of the miracles of the human body is that it naturally regulates its own temperature. There is a certain level of heat that it functions optimally at, so it is the system's job to keep the body at this level and not increase or decrease heat.
The interesting thing is that there are specific processes that the system uses when a human being is nearing the point of being too cold or too hot to function properly. Many of these are voluntary, meaning that we choose how to alter the situation to make ourselves more comfortable.
However, our minds also recognize these temperature changes and trying to find ways to maintain and regulate a good level of heat or cold. There are so many parts of the human body that are interconnected and that work to control one another in tandem.
Humans are homeotherms; this means that they reside at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, roughly. The core level of warmth can be changed a little bit from time to time, due to economic factors or exercise, but for this most part this degree is maintained.
Though the system does its best to regulate these levels, humans are still susceptible to extreme conditions and can be greatly affected by them. Heat stroke can occur when spending too much consecutive time in the sun or in extremely warm temps.
Hypothermia occurs when the body dips way below the acceptable heat level. Both of these are life threatening, and if not treated quickly and properly can cause severe damage or death.
The skin is also responsible for the detection of changes, and can impact core levels; controlled by the environment and metabolism, they set off triggers in the nervous system to make adjustments. Humans actually gain heat through two main methods: production, which involves energy and metabolism, and acquisition, which means taking the warmth or cold from the outer environment.
When it comes to creating warmth for the body, the most notable trigger or action that is taken is shivering. Everyone has shivered at some point or another, but have you really understood why you were doing it?
It is a seemingly strange action that is involuntary and not purposefully done by those who are cold. The quick contraction and shaking of the muscles generates warmth that is used and dissipated throughout the system to trying and increase core temps.
Other methods are cellular metabolism and circular adaptations, which also occur in other mammals. When it comes to trying to reduce the heat that is being experienced, the common and noticeable task is sweating.
Moisture is taken from within the body and released through sweat glands to cool and moisten the skin, thus ensuring the lowering of the core. Many notice sweating during exercise or spending a lot of time out in the sun.
This is their systems' way of trying to keep them from overheating. However, too much sweating can be dangerous, especially in climates that are very dry.
During the summer months, as well as when performing arduous exercise, it is very vital to drink an adequate amount of water. This will supplement that that is lost through sweating and help to keep you hydrated.
Some of the most dangerous situations of heat stroke are those that occur when the individual is not properly hydrating themselves and is losing way too much water through perspiration. Taking care of yourself includes remembering to keep your liquid and electrolyte levels healthy.
It may seem funny to follow the instruction of certain mammals, but it may just keep you healthy when the outdoor temperatures are high. Most animals that live in deserts or hot places are nocturnal, meaning they rest and hide under cool cover during the daytime and come out at night when it cools.
If you really wish to stay cool and comfortable, try to do most of your yard work or outdoor working out in the early morning or at night when the sun is setting and temps are lower. When human beings are sick, they also get fevers; these are a measure that is taken to try and kill the bacteria in the system, because they cannot live at high temps.
However, if the core gets too hot, there can be severe consequences; therefore, this process must be watched, regulated, and broken quickly. The human body is a fantastic creation that is able to perform many processes and methods in natural and involuntary ways.
Terry Daniels is a former electrical engineer and has written hundreds of articles relating to air conditioning and heating, including electric heater. He has been involved in the air conditioning and heating business for over 16 years.