Factors affecting how you feel in heat and cold How “hot” or “cold” you feel depends on 6 main factors:
  1. Air temperature – Air temperature is what can be measured with a thermometer. However, in situations where there is a lot of radiant heat (see below for examples), it is not always an accurate indication of how hot or cold you feel.
  2. Other sources of heat (radiant heat). These sources can include direct sunlight, machinery that generates heat, hot water, heaters or open flames, asphalt, etc. Over time on a hot day, these sources can radiate heat into the air and add to the amount of heat you “feel”.
  3. Relative humidity is the amount of moisture (water) in the air. The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold. High humidity makes people feel hotter because sweat does not evaporate off the skin (it is the evaporation of sweat that makes you feel cooler). Cold air with high relative humidity “feels” colder than dry air at the same temperature Why? Because high humidity in cold weather increases the conduction (loss) of heat from the body to the surrounding air.
  4. Moving air (speed) usually cools a person. This cooling provides relief in a hot environment as long as the moving air is cooler than the person. In cold situations, air movement can create wind chill and make you feel much colder than the temperature may indicate.
  5. Physical exertion (how hard you are working) also influences how hot or cold you feel. Moving around or working generates heat. When working on a very hot day, this movement increases your heat stress.
  6. Clothing can help you stay warmer. However, when mist, rain or sweat is heavy enough to make your clothing wet, you feel colder as wet clothing loses its insulating properties

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