Dealing with Summer Heat and Body Heat is not easy. It is now June as this is being written, so if you live in the Southeast, then you are well-aware that summer heat and humidity are both knocking on our door.
These conditions can sometimes be unpleasant and even somewhat uncomfortable. But when your body temperature gets too high, it is not just a matter of discomfort. Elevated human body temperature can be harmful, and even downright dangerous!
You probably know that normal body temperature hovers around 98.6°F. This number can vary by around a degree in either direction, depending upon the time of day and prevailing ambient temperature conditions of your location. Average body temperature can also differ somewhat according to the individual in question.
It should not be surprising to learn that you could have a higher-than-normal body temperature on a hot day, and that is not necessarily cause for alarm. However, a body temperature which reaches 100.4°F or greater could indicate a fever or could simply indicate that heat stress is occurring.
Heat stress points to the fact that your body is no longer able to maintain homeostasis where optimal body temperature is concerned.
What are the Causes of Body Heat
There are several factors which can contribute to high body heat, but they generally fall under the categories of either physiological or pathological causes. Physiological causes are usually related to external conditions, activities, and personal choices. Pathological causes, on the other hand, can usually be attributed to diseases or conditions which threaten the body internally.
The most common causes of elevated body temperature are physiological. Some routine contributors to high body heat include:
- Weather. Spending time outside when it is hot naturally tends to make you hotter, too. Adding high humidity to the mix also intensifies the heat impact on your body.
- Strenuous activity. During exercise or other strenuous activity, your muscles produce a significant amount of heat. This added heat serves to raise your overall body temperature.
- Certain types of clothing. Tight-fitting clothing retains more body heat than looser garments. And some synthetic fabrics do not breathe or wick moisture well, resulting in more elevated body temperatures.
- Caffeine & alcohol consumption. Caffeine and other stimulants give your metabolism a boost. While that is not necessarily a bad thing in moderation, one potentially negative result of accelerated metabolism is that it is an exothermic process which generates additional body heat. Caffeinated drinks can dehydrate you somewhat, too. Alcohol is not a stimulant, but it is an even more potent dehydrator, thus leaving you feeling hotter than normal.
- Certain medications. Some prescribed drugs are known to produce elevated body temperatures as a side effect for some people. These medications can include certain antihistamines, antibiotics, and opioids, among others.
- Dehydration. Dehydration, in general, is one of the leading causes of excessive body heat. Many things can lead to dehydration, including all the other factors in this list. The best way to prevent dehydration is to be sure you are drinking plenty of water, especially during times of hotter weather and/or increased physical activity.
- Pathological causes
Pathological causes of high body heat can be broken down into infectious and non-infectious conditions. Both bacterial and viral infections can produce a fever. Some of the more dangerous infections in terms of potential body heat impacts include malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, and COVID-19.
In terms of non-infectious conditions, cancer (along with some of its treatments) can make you experience higher body heat. Another common non-malignant condition is hyperthyroidism.
Whenever your body produces too much thyroid hormone, this tends to make you gain weight and have elevated body temperatures. Some connective tissue disorders can result in boosting body heat, as well.
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Effects of Heat on the Body
Other than possibly being sweatier and generally feeling more uncomfortable, what is bad about having increased body heat? It can lead to heat exhaustion, or in worse cases, even heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after being exposed to high temperatures. Heat exhaustion can come because of water depletion, salt depletion, or both. Some telltale signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include dark-colored urine, pale skin, profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fatigue, muscle cramps, headache, fainting, and confusion.
If you are experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion, try to get somewhere cool, drink plenty of fluids, and relax. Some other good ways to help you cool off include removing extra layers of clothing, applying ice, and taking a cool shower or bath. If these measures do not provide any relief within 15 minutes, you should seek medical attention.
Without proper, timely intervention, heat exhaustion can turn into an even more serious condition known as heat stroke. Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is considered a true medical emergency. Heat stroke (also commonly known as sunstroke) can result in brain damage, damage to other vital organs, and in extreme cases, can even cause death.
Heat stroke is more common with individuals over the age of 50, but it can affect nearly anyone given the right circumstances. If you suspect that someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 right away and give first aid measures until the paramedics arrive.
Body-Cooling Foods That Can Help Prevent Excessive Body Heat
What you eat and drink matters for good health in general, but some foods and beverages possess specific properties which can help to cool you down. Here are a few worth noting:
How Coconut water Helps in Reducing Body Heat?
Coconut water is a good natural alternative to drinking Gatorade or Powerade. It has got plenty of water for hydration, and it’s also full of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes your body needs to metabolize (and cool itself down) properly.
Use of Mint
Not only do mints like peppermint and spearmint taste cool and refreshing, but the presence of menthol in these mints can make you feel cooler, too.
Cooling Down Body Heat with Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is known for its medicinal properties and benefits when applied to the skin, but you can also add aloe vera juice to your beverage to help cool you down on the inside, too. The aloe vera leaves themselves are generally safe to eat right off the plant, in fact.
Lemon will Help you Stay Cooler in Summers
You probably do not want to suck on a lemon when you’re hot but drinking water with lemon every morning is a great way to help you stay cooler. Lemon contains potassium (among other nutrients), which is an important electrolyte that helps keep you healthier and better hydrated.
Pomegranate is another fruit high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which also contains potassium and other electrolytes. Having a glass of pomegranate juice daily is a healthy way to help keep your body temperature in check.
Fenugreek seeds have been used in Asia for centuries to help cool the body, as well as to treat digestive and menstrual issues. You can try chewing on some soaked fenugreek seeds to help cool off whenever you get too hot. Alternatively, you can soak a tablespoon of seeds in a glass of water overnight and drink it every morning as a preventative measure.
Say what? Granted, buttermilk is not widely known as an “energy drink,” and the thought of chugging buttermilk after strenuous activity may seem strange. But a cool glass of buttermilk is actually very effective at helping you to cool down and feel more restored. Not only does it contain some beneficial protein and fat, but it also delivers many vitamins, minerals, and probiotics your body needs for better digestion and better metabolism.
How Does Heat Affects the Skin?
Body heat can make you feel uncomfortable in more ways than one. You already know that sunny days and UV exposure can produce a painful sunburn, but heat can result in other skin problems as well.
Excess sweating and water loss can make your skin become irritated, red, and dry. You can develop an itchy scalp, too. And whenever dead skin cells mix with excess oil and sweat, that is a known recipe for an acne breakout to occur.
Looking for some good skincare products to help you beat the heat? Perhaps you would benefit even more from being able to consult with a professional dermatologist. Winston-Salem Dermatology is here to help! We treat all major skin conditions (including skin cancer), and we also offer many attractive cosmetic skin enhancement services. Connect with us today!
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