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Q & A: evaporative cooling

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Most recent answer: 06/07/2017
Q:
My daughter plays for a large premiere soccer Club and the director of this Club has trained all the coaches to prohibit water from being used on the head as a cooling method during very hot weather. (Spray bottles to face and body are fine). He says it's like having a hot sponge on the head and it will make you hotter instead of cooking you down. Could she accurately state that this would only be true if you had thick spongy hair, or is this just a false statement altogether? - thinking about evaporation vs. boiling ...
- Allison (age 48)
Newcastle, Wa
A:

As a matter of physics, it's just plain wrong. As water evaporates, it pulls a lot of heat out of its surroundings. That's true whether it's on your body or your head. Physiology, however, is complicated so I don't know if something weird happens to your internal temperature control if you cool your head rather than your body. My guess, based on experience, is no, that there's no problem cooling your head.

Mike W.


(published on 06/07/2017)

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