x
Breaking News
More () »

WEATHER LAB | Why we sweat

Sweat may not be the most pleasant topic to discuss, but it's an important bodily process.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Everyone is familiar with the dog days of summer: they're hot, humid, and we often sweat ... a lot.

For most people, the thought of sweating is uncomfortable, gross and at times, even repulsive.

Although sweat isn't exactly the most attractive topic to discuss, it's one of the most important bodily functions in existence.

Sweat is the human body's natural process of cooling itself off when it gets too hot.

The body's internal temperature typically hovers around 98.6°.

When people spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, whether active or sedentary, the body's internal temperature climbs naturally.

To no surprise, this rise in temperature goes entirely against the body's normal state.

In response, the body begins to emit sweat from the skin. It's when the sweat evaporates that the body begins to cool down.

Evaporative cooling occurs all the time in Earth's atmospheric processes too, including on rainy and snowy days.

RELATED: WEATHER LAB | Why are sunrises and sunsets so colorful?

On the most humid summer days, sweat has a more difficult time evaporating from the skin, making it harder for the body to cool down.

The sweating process is actually so effective that households in drier climates, like the American Southwest, use evaporative coolers instead of traditional air conditioning units. 

Keep in mind, it's always a good idea to practice proper heat safety when the weather turns hot and humid.

Limit time outdoors, spend more time in the shade than in the direct sun and drink plenty of water. 

RELATED: WEATHER LAB | How does it snow when temperatures are above freezing?