Eli5: Can you replace sweating by getting yourself sprayed with water?


I saw a short of a marathon in extreme heat. The runners got spray with water to cool them down. Does this replace the effect of sweating?

In: Biology

It helps cool the body sure. But it won’t hydrate them, their bodies are still burning water

In a way. As long as there is a liquid evaporating on your skin you’re shedding significant amounts of heat. It doesn’t matter if that liquid is pure water or sweat.
Mind you, your body isn’t suddenly going to stop *producing* sweat, but getting splashed with water will definitely augment your body’s own cooling abilities in the short term.

Spraying yourself with water have the exact same effect as sweating. It helps the body cool down in exactly the same way. However your body may not stop producing sweat even if you are submerged in water as the sweating is often determined by internal body temperature which may still be high. And you also use a lot of water when you are active for more then just sweating. So while being sprayed with water is a good thing when you are doing physical exercise you still need to drink water as well.

I might even work better.
You sweat to cool yourself down. Changing a liquid to a gas requires energy. The cooling effect of sweating is when the water on your skin evaporates and take the required energy from your skin so your temperature drops. The effect is quite clear with alcohol that evaporates a lot faster and the cooling effect is obvious.

The process the excrete sweat to the skin does not have a cooling effect, it is just a way to get the water there.
You will skip the absorption of water in the body and transportation to the skin. The water you sweat out will contain salt that you also need to consume along the water.
There is a limited capacity per unit of time of absorption of water so if you sweat to much you can get dehydrated.

In extreme dry heat you can actually run into the problem of people not being able to sweat enough to cool down.

You can only sweat about a gallon of water an hour, so if that’s not providing enough cooling then supplementing it with additional water sprayed on your skin can help prevent heat stroke.

Yes. Our bodies cool through evaporation. That is why in places where it is more humid it feels hotter and lower temperatures.

I knew a boy when I was a young adult who was born without sweat glands. He had a special apparatus that they used so he could play outside in the summer. Other than its existence, I don’t remember anything about it.

I guess it would depend on the circumstances. Sweating is supposed to help rid the body of toxins kind of like urine does.

If you are trying to stay cool, then yes.