What is Hyperthermia?

If your body temperature climbs too high, it is knowns as hyperthermia. It refers to several conditions that can occur when your body’s heat-regulation system can’t handle the heat in your environment.

You’re said to have severe hyperthermia if your body temperature is above 104°F (40°C).

What causes Hyperthermia?

The body has coping mechanisms to get rid of excess body heat, like breathing, sweating, and increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin. When the environment outside is warmer or/and humid than the inside of the body, it becomes difficult for the body to release its heat, as the coping mechanisms like sweating fails to maintain normal temperature.

What are the risk factors for Hyperthermia?

There are various conditions in which hyperthermia can happen:

  • Immune conditions
  • Heart conditions
  • Blood pressure or circulation conditions
  • Lung, kidney, and liver conditions
  • Dehydration, especially chronic dehydration
  • Metabolic conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Sweat gland or sweating abnormalities
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Being underweight
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Diuretic medications, usually for high blood pressure, glaucoma and edema
  • Medications for the central nervous system, including antihistamines, antipsychotics, and beta-blockers
  • A low sodium diet or low salt diet
  • Drug use

What are the symptoms of Hyperthermia?

Fainting is the first sign of hyperthermia. Other symptoms of hyperthermia include:

  • High grade Fever
  • Confusion
  • Coordination issues
  • Flushed skin
  • Reduced sweating
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Thirst
  • Headache
  • Cramps

What are the complications related to Hyperthermia?

The most serious stage in hyperthermia is heat stroke. Other heat related conditions can also lead to heat stroke and it can be fatal if not treated on time.

How is Hyperthermia treated?

If you suspect you may have hyperthermia, move to a cool place immediately. If heat cramp lasts more than one hour even after resting in a cool place, then you need to see a doctor immediately.

Tips to treat mild hyperthermia are:

  • Sipping cool water or an electrolyte drink
  • Loosening clothes
  • Lying down in a cool place
  • Taking a cool bath
  • Placing a cold and wet towel on the forehead. Wrapping of whole body with cold and wet towel
  • Running wrists under cold water for 60 seconds
  • Not resuming activity until symptoms have gone away
  • Placing ice packs or ice compresses under the arms and groin
  • Using a fan to cool the skin

How can Hyperthermia be prevented?

Avoid being or playing in extremely hot conditions. If you must be out in the heat, take the following precautions:

  • Take breaks in between and rest in a cool place
  • Drink water and electrolyte drinks at regular intervals
  • Wear light colored clothes
  • Cover your head and ears with cold wet scarf

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