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Fluid given off by the skin as vapour by simple evaporation or as sweat actively secreted from sweat glands to evaporate and cool the body. When the body temperature rises, the sympathetic nervous system stimulates eccrine sweat glands to secrete water to the skin surface, where it cools the body by evaporation. Human eccrine sweat is essentially a dilute solution of sodium chloride with trace amounts of other plasma electrolytes. In extreme conditions, human beings may excrete several litres of such sweat in an hour.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on perspiration, visit Britannica.com.