I had the recent pleasure of experiencing two new things: what it's like to lay on the ground shirtless in sub-50 degree wheather, and what it's like to get a second degree burn. Both of these took place on a movie set, which I am legally bound not to disclose any information about. I will say this: I got PAID to shiver.  Getting burned was an accident.

Through it all, the inquiring mind did not rest. As I was laying on the ground shirtless in sub-50 degree weather after sundown, I began to notice that try as I might to stay warm, still my body inevitably began to twitch.

The involuntary reaction goes by the proper name "shiver'. As I correctly guessed, what was happening was that the cold earth beneath where my body lay was sucking what little body heat I had into the ground. This coupled with the air temperature and gusts of wind was causing my body temperature to steadily and gradually drop like a deer that had been shot.

I GUESSED HYPOTHERMIA -- more specifically the onset of such. It wouldn't be 'til later that I looked up the science of shivering and confirmed my suspicions: my internal body temperature had dropped almost 3 degrees from a normal 98.6 to a lackluster 95. That doesn't SEEM like much, but that number equals the beginning stages of hypothermia.

So now we get to THE SHIVERS.

As I suspected, shivering is an automatic response triggered by the body to maintain homeostasis (yo homie, it's like stasis -- in other words, an optimal internal environment in which to function). Since kinetic energy (MOTION) produces heat as a byproduct, the body's goal in shivering is to create little pockets of heat in order to fight off decreasing temperatures.

My recommendation is to never lay on the bare ground shirtless unless you're getting paid. Even then, wear a jacket and gloves for as long as possible.

Oh, and if you're clothes/costumes ever catch on fire: STOP, DROP, AND ROLL IMMEDIATELY.



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