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Facts and fables about the cold: Alcohol does not help with the hot to get’

With temperatures around and below freezing, it is winter in the Netherlands. About what the cold with your health, various stories were told. How do we separate the myths from the facts?

NU.nl explains Hein Daanen, professor of exercise physiology at the Free University of Amsterdam, a number of propositions about the cold. Daanen is an expert in the area of the heat dissipation of the human body.

1. Slim men and women have the faster cold: fact

Daanen: “People who are overweight have more fat under the skin, causing them their body heat better hold on to. This cooling they are also less fast. Between men and women is the difference in cold experience less than the difference between heavy and skinny people. Women indicate more often that they are in the cold, but a reason for this outcome is difficult. It is, however, that the monthly cycle of the woman affect her temperatuurbeleving.” (Right after the ovulation a rise in body temperature place, red.)

2. Wearing socks in bed will keep you warmer during cold nights: fable

Daanen: “In the night drops the core temperature of the body, but the skin is warmer.” People fall easier asleep with warm hands and feet, explains Daanen. “The slaapcentrum and the temperature regulation sit right next to each other in the brain.” Therefore, it can be useful to wear socks, if you by the cold more difficult to fall asleep. “But during sleep does not benefit more.”

3. Shivering and teeth chattering has no function for the human body: myth

Daanen: “A human body has two possibilities to adapt to the cold. If it’s cold, we keep the first the temperature around the brain and the heart and maintain but that comes at the expense of the blood circulation of the hands and feet. That is reduced by narrowing of the blood vessels, making them cold. Secondly, we can heat through shivering and teeth chattering. As you begins to create the body heat in the muscles. When the body is at rest, it makes 100 watts of heat, with shivering is that even 300 to 400 watts.”

4. The head is the part of the body that most of the heat loses: fact nor fable

Daanen: “Often, people dress in cold weather warm, but they do not always have a hat or gloves. If the rest of the body is well packed, it is logical that the head of a lot of heat lose. But this would also apply to a foot or other part of your body that is not properly packed. It is, however, that the head is relatively much heat lose because there in the cold little vasoconstriction takes place. Therefore, it is smart to have a hat on.”

5. With food and drink you can body temperature affect: fact

Daanen: “A good trick to make the body and the hands warm to get a hot drink. By a hot beverage, the temperature in the core of the body higher. Then stop responding to the body by back extra blood to the fingers and toes. Alcohol, by contrast, is detrimental to the hot again. By the alcohol reacts in the body differently to cold and it does not start shivering or teeth chattering. Also by warm food, take the core temperature. In addition, the body warmer when the food to digest.”

6. The temperature indoors and outdoors, it is best to not vary too much: fable

Daanen: “If you’re in the house already cold, you are already cold if you go outside. It is recommended to you in the house to dress warmly for the cold of outside. If you then from the cold in a warm room, warms up the body again. Then take the coat off, so that the ambient heat of the body and the jacket can heat it up.”

7. A good layer of petroleum jelly helps in extreme cold: myth

Daanen: “This is a persistent myth. Used to be smeared for example, people who went ice skating with vaseline. From scientific research, however, shows that the smear with petroleum jelly the risk of koudeletsel increases. The fat in the cream makes sure that there is more moisture in the skin remains present. Then there is a risk that this moisture freezes.”

8. When exercising in the cold, it is wise to warm the body to dress: fable

Daanen: “Our isolation we should continue our effort to adjust. If you sits still, you have an extra layer of insulation needed, but if we go to work, it is wise to do not too many clothes to wear. With cold weather it is better to be under the zweetdrempel to stay. Sweat is created to cool the body, but of course it is not the cold weather. Also if you are into sports you have during the effort, not much clothing needed. On the other hand should the body be well be during the break or when the exercise is finished. Otherwise you will lose heat very quickly.”

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