Dressing for Health

You are a warm-blooded animal. This means your body is always adjusting to keep your body temperature constant. Human life is only compatible with a narrow range of temperatures.

Your normal temperature is right around 98.6 degrees F.
If your temperature increases or decreases you run into problems...

Temp °C

Temp °F


28 82.4 Muscle failure
30 86 Loss of body temp. control
33 91.4 Loss of consciousness
37 98.6 Normal
42 107.6 Central nervous system breakdown
44 111.2 Death

Dressing for the cold

Not dressing warm enough will give you a cold
Even a small decrease in temperature can inhibit your immune system from protecting you against sickness. This is why it's important to dress warm in cold weather. If you don't you are vulnerable to sickness.

Wear a Hat
A proportionately large amount of heat escapes from the head. That is why it is most important when dressing warm to wear a hat.

Stay Dry
Water is a very good conductor of heat. Heat passes easily from the skin into the water. This is why you cool down when you sweat. This is also why people who become submerged in water are so prone to hypothermia. In order to stay warm, you must stay dry.

When exposing your body to the elements, like when you're camping or boating, always bring water proof rain gear, and dry clothes sealed in a watertight plastic bag.

Sweat can leave you wet and cold
If you dress too warm or if you physically exert yourself in the cold, like when you're snowboarding, skiing, shoveling snow, etc., you will sweat. Your sweat will make your clothes wet, and your heat will drain out of your body. A good way to prevent this is by wearing long underwear made of a material that wicks away moisture, such as polypropylene. Make sure to wear this material against your skin, to keep the moisture off your body, and your heat inside.

If your extremities, fingers and toes, become numb or you notice they've stopped hurting after being uncomfortable from the cold, get inside and warm them up.
As long as your fingers and tootsies are still hurting from the cold, you are ok. But when they stop hurting you are in danger of getting frost bite.

Dressing for the heat

If your body gets to warm, you can become dehydrated due to excess sweating. If your temperature rises high enough you can experience heat stroke, when your body's mechanisms for temperature control switch off.

To stay cool drink lots and lots of water
Sweating keeps you cool. You need water to sweat. Case closed.

When you spend time in the sun, always use sunblock
to avoid sunburn which can lead to heat stroke.

If you feel dizzy, let someone know, get out of the sun, into a cool place and drink lots of water.

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