Feature Christmas 2008: Seasonal Fayre

Festive medical myths

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2769 (Published 18 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2769

Excess heat loss in the hatless

I caution readers not to go hatless in inclement weather. As
countless generations of Yorkshiremen know, to do so could well be fatal
(Reference). All with either a basic knowledge of thermal physiology, a
degree of (not in)common sense or sufficient inquisitivity to have
investigated, know that the words 'because "40 to 45 percent of body heat"
is lost through the head' really mean: 'In a hatless but otherwise
properly clothed person 40 to 50% of body heat is lost through the head'.

Therefore it remains very sensible (and possibly life saving) advice
to wear a hat, whether on Ilkley Moor or elsewhere in cold weather.

Simon Ridout, Consultant Occupational Physician, Sellafield Ltd,
Seascale Cumbria CA20 1PG

Reference: http://www.ilkley.org/iguide/baht.htm

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 December 2008
Simon S Ridout
Consultant Occupational Physician
Sellafield Ltd, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1PG