Health Care

Myth busted: Do we really lose most of our body heat through our head?

As a child, we were all told to put on a beanie when we’re cold as most of our body heat escapes through our head. But, just how accurate is this?

The experts at House Call Doctor have put together everything you need to know for next time you’re struggling to keep warm.

The facts

The short answer to this question is no, we really don’t lose most of our body heat through our head. This is because the head only represents 10 per cent of the total body’s surface.

So, according to Web MD, even if 75 per cent of the body’s heat is lost through the head, it would need to lose almost 40 times as much heat across every other inch of the body.

This is quite unlikely and has been proven by a study conducted in the United States. The group of college students who took part discovered they lost the same amount of body heat, regardless of which area of their body was exposed.

The reason behind the myth

The main reason this myth originated is because most of the time we’re outside and cold, we’re fully clothed but might not be wearing a hat or beanie. According to Richard Ingebretsen, an adjunct instructor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, “”If you don’t have a hat on, you lose heat through your head, just as you would lose heat through your legs if you were wearing shorts”.

Rather than thinking of the body as being cold, it’s important to know it always has heat. The reason we may feel ‘cold’ is because we’re struggling to keep body heat in, so we turn to warm clothing such as jumpers, beanies or blankets to help trap the warmth.