By Katie Thomas
Is it true that we lose most of our body heat through our heads? Depends whom you ask. That doesn’t seem to be a question easily answered with a simple yes or no. But anyone who lives in a cold climate and has tested the question personally can tell you that YES certainly seems like the logical answer. If you doubt me, just try walking a city block with no hat in 4 degrees and see if you find yourself fantasizing about finding a dead raccoon to fashion into a head-warmer.
According to the U.S. Army Public Health Center, the acronym COLD applies to staying warm in cold weather, starting with C for Covering. The head, face, and neck are emphasized. (O-L-D stand for Overexertion, Layers, and Dry, respectively.) So it was probably true when Mom said that you’d be warmer if you wore a hat when you go outside.
You may think this is just good advice for skiing or hiking. Not so.
When I was a kid, my dad would take my sister and me to the local hot springs and attempt to communicate the glory of slowly roasting away in the hottest hot pool, and then plunging into the freezing pool. My sister and I were NOT into that. Never mind that the North American Journal of Medical Sciences and other reputable sources now tell me that hydrotherapy is actually a thing, and with such benefits as reducing muscle spasm, increasing circulation, and reducing pain. In retrospect, wearing a hat while engaging in this practice may have significantly eased the agony of winter cold-tubbing. It does today…
Now that I’m older, I like to do my own version of this, at the same hot springs, but while wearing my Slouchy Beanie to protect my head…helping me forget that I’m sitting in snow. In a swimsuit. In December. In Montana. Hey, you can still catch some rays through the clouds.