Q:

What causes overheating in the human body?

A:

Hot weather and heavy physical activity cause the human body to overheat, according to Health Central. Dehydration, sleep deprivation and illicit drugs, such as amphetamines and ecstasy, can overwhelm the body and affect its ability to regulate temperature, according to Drugs.com.

Extreme heat and excessive exercise challenge the human body’s ability to maintain a healthy temperature, at 98.6 degree Fahrenheit, according to Health Central. The body typically sweats to cool down and regulate body temperature; however, prolonged exposure to these conditions exceeds the body’s capacity to keep cool.

Many conditions can cause the body to overheat. Dehydration combined with extreme heat interferes with the cooling process, according to Drugs.com. Heavy, bulky clothing interferes with the body’s ability to cool down as well. Overweight individuals can have trouble cooling down because their bodies generate more heat. In addition, some drugs may interfere with the body’s ability to cool down, such as antihistamines, diuretics, laxatives and calcium channel blockers.

It’s important for individuals to be aware of the signs of overheating, and take action immediately. The signs of heat-related illnesses include nausea, headache, dizziness, fainting, muscle cramps and confusion. According to Health Central, victims should be moved to a cool place, and given fluids such as water and fruit juice. A cool bath or shower helps bring temperatures down fast. Those who experience confusion, hallucinations, faintness and coma should seek immediate medical attention. Very high body temperatures can lead to brain damage and damage to other vital organs, according to Medicine Net.


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