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Why is 37 celcius hot?

  1. May 9, 2014 #1
    Heat flows from higher temperature to lower temperature. The body temperature is 37 celcius, but still if thats the surrounding's temp., it is very hot. Why so? Shouldn't 37 celcius be the perfect temp?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2014 #2


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    I don't have specific expertise here, but I've always thought that since it is harder to cool a system with a small temperature gradient, humans prefer lower temperatures for the passive cooling effect.
  4. May 9, 2014 #3


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    To be pedantic, I wouldn't call it "harder," but rather say that it takes longer to cool: the rate of heat flow to the surroundings depends on the difference in temperature.

    Otherwise, I think your explanation is correct. The body continuously produces heat, and some of it must be dumped into the environment to maintain 37°C inside.
  5. May 9, 2014 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    You are mixing objective temperature with subjective feeling. It never works.
  6. May 9, 2014 #5


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    Core body temperature averages 37 degrees with minor fluctuations, peripheral body temperature can vary a bit more. But the reason why 37 degrees is not a perfect environment temperature and is in fact dangerous is because at that temperature your body cannot shed excess heat. Your metabolism creates a lot of waste heat that is damaging to cells and tissues, because of this you have thermoregulatory mechanisms to get rid of head through sweating, vasodilation etc.
  7. May 15, 2014 #6
    It feels hot because the body cannot lose heat to the environment but it keeps generating heat internally.
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