Body heat is the internal temperature of your body. When you have a fever, your body’s temperature increases. But, lower than normal body temperature is also not good as your organs must have an ideal temperature to perform optimally. Internal (health conditions and food) and external (environmental) factors are responsible for your body’s temperature.
Heat and humidity in the environment can sometimes be dangerous as your body must not be exposed to extreme heat for prolonged durations. Since excess heat can damage your brain and other organs, keeping your body cool during hot days is important.
Although sweating, your body’s natural mechanism to cool down your body, can help lower your body temperature, it is not sufficient to depend solely on sweating. Excess heat can cause a heat-related illness called hyperthermia.1
Find out about the body’s ideal temperature, effects of increased body heat, and methods to normalize your body temperature.
What Is Hyperthermia?
Hyperthermia is the overheating of the body, in which the body’s temperature is higher than normal, possibly due to extreme weather conditions. Though hyperthermia can happen to anyone, infants, older people, young children, and people who are ill, obese or on certain medications are especially at risk.
High body temperature is linked to increased heart and respiratory rates. In extreme cases, it can damage the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. The blood vessels located close to the skin can become dilated, which can cause problems among those with heart issues, while the kidneys become stressed through a variety of pathways and may fail.2
In some cases, it might even lead to a coma. Hyperthermia can cause several heat-related illnesses, ranging from mild to serious. These include heat cramps, heat edema, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
What Is Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke?
Heat exhaustion is a warning sign that your body is unable to keep itself cool. It may also cause dizziness, nausea, thirst, weakness, and lack of coordination. Your skin may feel cold and clammy, and you may experience a rapid pulse. When this happens, drink plenty of fluids and rest in a cool place.
Sometimes, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia that occurs when your body temperature reaches 104° Fahrenheit or more. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that generally causes confusion, fainting, staggering, strange behavior or dry, flushed skin.
What Is The Body’s Normal Temperature?
Although 98.6°F (37°C) is the normal temperature of the human body, each person has their own individual “normal” body temperature, which may be slightly higher or lower. Our bodies also constantly adapt their temperature to environmental conditions.
Your body temperature is lower at night and higher in the afternoon than in the morning. Even activities and exercises can raise your body temperature. The hypothalamus, which is a part of your brain, regulates your internal body temperature.3
When your brain sets the body temperature higher than normal, you suffer from a fever, which may happen as a reaction to germs such as viruses or bacteria, and because of other factors. However, if your body temperature is outside the normal range, you must rectify it and restore its normal temperature.
Ideal body temperature is crucial for the optimal performance of all the organs in your body. Excess body heat can cause sleeplessness, irritation in the eyes and stomach, and many other unpleasant symptoms. Modifying your food habits and consuming foods that cool you down can help you regulate your body temperature.
Causes For Excess Body Heat
Body heat can increase because of both internal and external factors.
Diseases, Fever And Neurological Disorders
When you have a fever, although your body temperature increases, it is well regulated by a hypothalamic set-point that balances heat production and heat loss so effectively that the temperature does not exceed an upper limit of 42 °C.4 In case of neurological disorders, the magnitude and the duration of the hyperthermia are thought to influence the development of neurological manifestations.5
Abnormal Thyroid Activity
Abnormal thyroid activity can cause an increase in metabolism and therefore result in excess heat production. Heat intolerance is a characteristic clinical feature among patients with hyperthyroidism, where there is an increase in heat production.6
Prolonged Sun Exposure
Exposure to the sun for prolonged periods can increase your body temperature. People who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress, especially those in low-middle income countries in tropical regions.
Hot And Humid Weather
Although your body does its best to cool down your body by sweating, hot and humid climate can still increase your body temperature. A bigger risk is the body becoming dehydrated due to constant sweating.
Symptoms Of Excess Body Heat
- Excessive perspiration
- Acidity and heartburn
- Stomach ulcers
- Burning sensation in the eyes
- Skin rashes and boils
- Burning hands and feet
- Heat cramps
- Rapid heartbeat
Natural Methods To Regulate Body Heat
There are numerous natural methods to lower your body temperature when it becomes too hot. For instance, rubbing sandalwood on your body helps it cool down because of the sandalwood’s cooling properties. Adding a few drops of rose water to sandalwood can enhance its effect. Soaking your feet in cold water also reduces your body temperature. Here are other natural techniques to cool down your body.
- Drinking coconut water instantly regulates body temperature, hydrates your body and balances your electrolytes.
- Juicy fruits like watermelon that have a very high water content help regulate the body heat.
- Drinking buttermilk restores your body with essential probiotic vitamins and minerals, which get depleted during dehydration.
- A glass of apricot juice with honey in it helps you cool down.
- Green cardamom is an effective remedy to reduce body heat.
- A cold glass of milk with honey also helps lower your body temperature.
- Other foods like sugarcane juice, cucumbers, citrus fruit juices, bananas, herbal teas, barley, and mint also significantly reduce body heat.
|↑1||Stay Cool. National Institutes of Health. News In Health. 2013.|
|↑2||Seltenrich, Nate. “Between extremes: health effects of heat and cold.” Environmental health perspectives 123, no. 11 (2015): A275.|
|↑3||How is body temperature regulated and what is fever? U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2016.|
|↑4||El-Radhi, A. Sahib Mehdi. “Fever management: Evidence vs current practice.” World journal of clinical pediatrics 1, no. 4 (2012): 29.|
|↑5||Walter, Edward James, and Mike Carraretto. “The neurological and cognitive consequences of hyperthermia.” Critical Care 20, no. 1 (2016): 199.|
|↑6||Mullur, Rashmi, Yan-Yun Liu, and Gregory A. Brent. “Thyroid hormone regulation of metabolism.” Physiological reviews 94, no. 2 (2014): 355-382.|