Why Floridians feel 'cold' when it's really not that cold

Medical science helps combat 'weather wimp' theory

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - MaryEllen Gioia gives her take on the weather in West Palm Beach Tuesday night. "It's not cool," she said. "It's cold."

It feels cold to her - and to many Floridians - and that is often laughable to anyone up north dealing with a wintry, frigid mess again and again.

However, medical science may be on the side of Floridians. "Those changes happen fairly quickly," said Emergency Room Dr. Deven Kumar of Good Samaritan Medical Center.

He moved to the 'Sunshine State' from chilly Detroit, Michigan.

"For me, it was a good four or five months," he said of the time it took for his body to acclimate to Florida's climate.

Some in the medical field discount the theories about someone's blood 'thinning out' in the Florida climate. Instead, doctors say, it is literally all in your head, with your brain acting as the body's thermometer.

Some experts believe that mental perceptions of what is cold may actually trump the physiological reaction humans have when the mercury drops.

"Just because the temperatures aren't comparable, people's complaints and illnesses are the same," said Dr. Kumar.

Dr. Kumar said he has seen a jump in the number of cold-related visits to the ER lately; patients with coughs, respiratory issues and nasal congestion. Kumar noted that those are all the same symptoms that come with winter-like weather no matter what the temperature may be.

"I was very happy," said Brett Clarin, who recently moved to South Florida from Long Island, New York. "My body adjusted very well to the warmth," he said.


 

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