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Nikki Vaughn

Weekdays 10am-3pm

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Everyone has tips on how to keep warm in freezing weather. But are they myth… or reality?

You lose most of your body heat from your head:  Nope. Where your body loses heat is closely related to surface area, and the head has only about 9% of the body’s surface area. On the other hand, if the rest of you is all covered up and your head isn’t, then you DO lose most of your heat from your head.

To warm up, sip coffee or brandy:  Caffeine and alcohol hinder the body’s ability to produce heat. They can also cause your core temperature to drop. Instead, drink warm water, or something with sugar.  (Can I have brandy if I put sugar in it?)

Cold weather can cause you to catch cold:  Can we put this to rest right now? You catch cold from a virus, not from cold temperatures. (Now stop listening to old wives!)

Rub your fingers or toes to warm them:  Wiggle them instead. If exposed skin (including your face and ears) becomes cold, cover it with a warm hand until it feels better. Rubbing can cause tissue damage. (Pro tip: Masks help, too!)

You should resist shivering:  Shivering means that your body is trying to warm up, and that’s good. In fact, shivering can triple your body’s heat production. (On the other hand, it can chip your teeth…)

If I’m cold, you must be cold too:  Age, gender, fitness level and acclimatization all determine when you “feel” cold. And women generally feel cold before men do, possibly because they have less heat-generating ability.

(Cold, hard facts…that aren’t facts!!)