Summer is here, and we all know how unbearable the heat can get. High temperatures can cause sweating, dehydration, and fatigue, leading to an overall feeling of discomfort.
The body’s ability to produce and dissipate heat is reflected in its temperature. The average normal temperature is often cited as 37°F, although it may deviate slightly in either direction. For adults, the typical range is between 36.5°F and 37.2°F.
Normally, the hypothalamus and autonomic nervous system work together to maintain the body’s temperature within a degree or two of the normal range. However, situations can arise that cause the body’s temperature to rise, leading to a state of heat stress.
Heat stress can occur due to a variety of factors, including extreme heat, certain foods, and other causes. Read on to discover what causes high body heat and what measures you can take to alleviate it.
Fortunately, there are various ways to reduce body heat and stay cool in the heat.
In this blog, we will discuss some simple and effective ways to lower body heat and keep your cool this summer.
What are the main reasons leading to high body heat?
- Inflammatory illness, like an infection
- Hyperthyroidism, where your body produces too much thyroid hormone
- Spending time in hot and humid weather, especially when exposed to direct sunlight or engaging in physical activity
- Wearing tight-fitting, synthetic clothing can also trap moisture and inhibit breathability, leading to heat stress
- Consumption of spicy, oily, or fried food, as well as high-protein foods
- Drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
- Engaging in intense physical exercise, and
- Having certain medical conditions such as arthritis, leukaemia, and neurological disorders can also affect body temperature
- Taking certain drugs like antibiotics, opioids, and antihistamines that cause high body temperatures or being dehydrated
How to reduce body heat?
One of the most effective ways to reduce body heat is to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids helps regulate body temperature by cooling down the body through perspiration. It also prevents dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses. Water, coconut water, and fresh fruit juices are some of the best fluids to keep you hydrated.
Wear Breathable Clothing
Wearing breathable clothing can also help reduce body heat. Choose loose-fitting clothes made from lightweight, breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. These fabrics allow air to circulate freely around the body, keeping you cool and comfortable.
Eat Cooling Foods
Certain foods have a cooling effect on the body, making them ideal for reducing body heat. These include fruits such as watermelon, cucumber, and citrus fruits, which are rich in water content and can help hydrate the body. Yoghurt, coconut milk, and mint are also cooling foods that can help lower body heat.
Take Cool Showers
Taking cool showers or baths is a great way to reduce body heat. The cool water helps to lower the body’s temperature and soothe the skin, providing immediate relief from the heat. Try taking a cool shower or bath before bedtime to promote better sleep in the summer months.
Use a Cooling Pad
A cooling pad is a great way to reduce body heat while sitting or sleeping. These pads contain a gel that stays cool, providing a refreshing sensation when in contact with the skin. They are available in different sizes and shapes and can be used on various body parts, such as the neck, back, or feet.
Avoid Spicy and Fried Foods
Spicy and fried foods can raise the body’s temperature, making it harder to cool down. These foods can also cause dehydration, which can worsen heat-related illnesses. Try to avoid or limit your intake of spicy and fried foods during hot weather.
What are the symptoms of being overheated?
Doctors distinguish between three levels of heat-related conditions: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
Heat cramp, while uncomfortable, usually resolves with rest and hydration, and does not require medical intervention. Signs of heat cramps include a high body temperature, dizziness, and muscle pain or stiffness.
Heat exhaustion, on the other hand, warrants medical attention if the symptoms persist for more than an hour or worsen over time. Along with the symptoms of heat cramps, a person may experience vomiting, headaches, and difficulty focusing or making decisions.
Heatstroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness and requires immediate medical attention at a hospital. In addition to the symptoms of heat cramps and heat exhaustion, a person may experience seizures, loss of consciousness, and even organ failure.
If you’re feeling overheated, these remedies may help you cool down. However, if you’re experiencing high body temperature for an unknown reason or if these remedies aren’t working, it’s important to consult a doctor. This is particularly crucial if:
- you have an underlying medical condition
- you’re over 65 years old
- you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
Heat stress can progress to heat exhaustion or heat stroke if left untreated, so it’s important to seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing extreme discomfort that doesn’t go away. Additionally, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms of heat emergencies.
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About the Author
Dr. S. Goel
Dr. S. Goel is a renowned Internal Medicine Specialist currently practicing at Ayu Health Hospital, Bangalore. He is a Specialist in Internal Medicine, Diabetes HTN, Paediatric Care, and Family Medicine.