It’s noteworthy to say that prolonged warm conditions characterized by extreme heat are unfavorable for a substantial majority, but if one finds that they are uncomfortable in hot weather, even after short periods; then they are most likely suffering heat intolerance or hypersensitivity to heat. Problems usually come from the body’s inability within its thermoregulatory mechanisms to control body temperature. Symptoms of heat intolerance include confusion, loss of consciousness, vomiting, increased heart rate and rapid breathing. And this unusual response to high temperatures can be due to a number of factors that include:
- Allergy medications: Antihistamines such as Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) that are used for seasonal allergies can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight and lead to discomfort. They also prevent the body from sweating and in hot seasons, they greatly contribute to the body’s overheating. Individuals taking first generation antihistamines during the dry season should consult with their doctor or pharmacist to choose the best antihistamine to use.
- Decongestants: Cold and Flues, even when uncommon in warm weather, are capable of striking all year round. Decongestants used to alleviate colds and stuffiness can decrease blood flow to skin surfaces and impair the body’s ability to lose heat through the skin, the risk here is the body’s overheating.
- Blood pressure medications: These make the body more susceptible to overheating. For some, such as beta blockers, they work in the same way as decongestants by reducing blood flow to the skin surface and for others, such as thiazide diuretics, they work by forcing fluid out of the body to reduce body pressure and lessen workload on the heart causing dehydration.
- Other medications include Psychiatric medications, stimulants for ADHD and overactive bladder treatments.
- Caffeine: This stimulant can increase heart rate and speed up metabolism causing a rise in body temperature leading to heat intolerance.
- Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid gland produces excess thyroxine hormone, a hormone that causes an increased rate body’s metabolism that can cause overheating and heat intolerance. A patient may need to speak to their doctor about treatment options to help reduce heat hypersensitivity.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS): The disease affects the central nervous system and causes interruptions of signals leading to heat intolerance.
In case of heat intolerance, a discussion with your doctor or pharmacist can go a long way in making the right assessment, and formulating the best methods to mitigate heat intolerance.