True or False – We Lose Most of our Body Heat From Our Head?

Now that the colder weather has arrived, we all are reminded to cover our heads to stay warm. One of the reasons we do this is because of the age-old theory that we lose approximately half of our body heat through our heads, but is this bit of advice really true?

The origin of this belief comes most likely from an old U.S. Army Field Manual from the 1950’s based on arctic survival research. The problem with the study is that while the research was performed on subjects wearing cold weather gear, they were not wearing hats. Naturally, in circumstances like this, body heat will escape from whatever area is exposed – in this case, the subjects uncovered heads.

Since our heads represents only 10% of our body’s total surface area, it would have to lose about 40 times as much heat per square inch as other parts of the body for this theory to be true.

Another factor in why this myth is thought to be true by many has to do with how our blood vessels are composed. We tend to feel colder in places where blood vessels are densely packed, like the head, and less where aren’t such as the legs.

Even though there is no factual basis to the concept of losing excess body heat through our heads, most will agree that if you want to stay warm this winter, you should cover your entire body to prevent heat from escaping…including your head.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.