Cold Weather Causes Bodily Changes
Goosebumps, shivering and frostbite are just some of the effects that cold weather can have on the body. When the temperature drops, there are many physiological factors that come into play.
* Sensory slow down: Cold temperatures can wreak havoc on bodily functions, including nerve impulses. Consider how it can be more difficult to handle fine motor skills out in the cold, such as lacing up a boot or grabbing a fallen coin from the floor. The cold temperatures slow down muscle reactions and nerve signals, which makes it harder to move the body.
* Goosebumps: Goosebumps, or goose pimples as they're sometimes called, is the formation of small bumps on the skin when muscles tighten and pull on the skin and cause hairs to rise into an erect position. Goosebumps can occur when a person is cold or scared. In terms of being cold, in most mammals with a lot of fur or hair, the formation of goosebumps can help trap in air between the fur and generate heat. This isn't as easily achieved for humans, simply because humans are not as hairy.
* Shivering: When it is cold outside the body does what it can to maintain warmth. The body may start to quiver and shake and teeth rattle in autonomic activity aimed at generating heat as quickly as possible.
* Excess urination: Cold weather seems to make individuals more prone to visiting the bathroom. When the body is cold, there is eventual constriction of blood vessels. This constriction can cause overall blood pressure to rise. The body makes attempts to reduce blood pressure by reducing fluid volume. The easiest way to do this is to have the body excrete fluid in the form of urine.
* Frostbite: The body will make great strides toward keeping itself warm, even dilating blood vessels on the surface of the skin to produce more heat. This is why a person will notice rosy cheeks, nose and other parts of the body when it is chilly outside. However, eventually this dilation will cease and the surface skin will be susceptible to the surrounding temperatures. When the skin becomes too cold, ice crystals can actually form in the cells of the body and causes them to die. If frostbite is superficial, the dead, blackened cells will slough off and new cells will be in their place. In more severe frostbite, the damage is too great and people have been known to lose parts of their extremities.
Experts say women are generally better able to handle cold weather because of a greater amount of subcutaneous fat. They also have a broader gradient of temperature from the skin to the body core, which enables them to regulate their body temperatures more easily. Elderly people and small children are the least able to regulate body temperature and could feel the effects of the cold in a more pronounced way.
Considering humans are generally tropical animals and are most comfortable in temperatures around 75 F, layering of clothing is essential to maintaining personal comfort during the cold-weather season. TF10C164