Your body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating just isn't enough. Your body temperature can rise to dangerous levels and you can develop a heat illness. Most heat illnesses occur from staying out in the heat too long. Exercising too much for your age and physical condition are also factors. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are most at risk. Drinking fluids to prevent dehydration, replenishing salt and minerals, and limiting time in the heat can help.
Heat-related illnesses include the following:
- Heatstroke - a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 106° F in minutes; symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness
- Heat exhaustion - an illness that can precede heatstroke; symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse
- Heat rash - skin irritation from excessive sweating
- Heat cramps - muscle pains or spasms that happen during heavy exercise
Heat intolerance refers to a feeling of being overheated when the temperature around you rises. It can often cause heavy sweating.
Heat intolerance usually comes on slowly and lasts for a long time, but it may also occur quickly and be a serious illness.
Causes of Heat intolerance
Heat intolerance may be caused by the following:
- Amphetamines or other stimulants, that are found in drugs that suppress your appetite
- Too much thyroid hormone (thyrotoxicosis)
Home Care for Heat intolerance
Keep room temperature at a comfortable level. Drink plenty of water.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have unexplained heat intolerance.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination.
Medical history questions may include:
- When do the symptoms occur?
- Have you had heat intolerance before?
- Is it worse when you exercise?
- Do you have vision changes?
- Are you dizzy or fainting?
- Do you have sweating or flushing?
- Do you have numbness or weakness?
- Do you have palpitations or a rapid pulse (heart rate)?
Tests that may be performed include:
- Blood studies
- Thyroid studies (TSH, T3, free T4)