Fanning yourself

My mom always told me that fanning yourself(esp with those fancy chinese fans) will make you even more hot, negating any perceived coolness. Is there any truth to this?

Your body’s cooling function is your sweat glands. By fanning yourself, it’s like providing a breeze which makes you feel cooler. The only way that fanning yourself would make you hotter is if you “dried” the sweat. However, if you’re hot, you’re likely to produce more.

Some people say that fanning yourself will make you hotter b/c you’re using energy to do the actual fanning.

But a properly-constructed fan takes very little energy to use …


I believe the OP means using your hand to fan yourself. The story is that you get overheated from the exertion of fanning yourself, which makes you seem hotter and that this overcomes the advantage of the extra air.

Simply using a sheet of paper or a hand fan does seem to cool you. The problem is that your hand alone isn’t very good at sending air your way.

However, my feeling is that fanning yourself does cool you down somewhat.

It does cool you by moving the thin area of heated air your body has around it and replacing it with cooler air.

I don’t think this question can be answered correctly without specific numbers and specific conditions. Some variables:

  • Size and number of hands used for fanning (we’ll assume fingers closed for better aerodynamics)
  • Speed of fanning
  • Ambient temperature
  • Duration of fanning

I’m sure there are others. My guess is that fanning yourself is efficient under some circumstances, and inefficient in others.