Why does fever feel so much hotter despite it being only a few degrees of difference?


Like, 37 to 38 feels like you are really hot, even touching a person, they can feel hot. Shouldn’t you be unable to tell the difference or be barely able to do so (especially if you touch a person)?

In: 4

For one, the temperature change is internal. Our skin is usually the organ we use to gauge heat, but when it’s internal it’s going to be more extreme, as it’s more directly interacting with our nervous system.

Secondly, your feeling hotter is a survival response. Your body wants you to know that something is wrong.

Third, your body has a very particular homeostasis that it needs to maintain for things to function properly. Even slight variations of internal temperature can alter your bodies ability to function correctly.

Let’s say you weigh 50 kilos.

That means you’re about 35 kilos of water.

To raise 35 kilos of water 1°C takes ~146,000 joules, or 146 kJ, or ~41 Watt Hours.

A typical human body at test radiates about 100 Watts as heat.

Say it took four hours for your fever to rise that 1°C. That would mean your metabolism was running 10 percent higher all that time. That’s not sustainable long term.

Because few degree is a lot. Normal human termerature is 36.3 nowadays (was 36.6 century ago). Majority of fibers in human body breaks at 41. Just 5 more degree over your normal temperature and you would drop dead. 2 degree below your normal temperature and you suddenly enjoy hypothermia.