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Hyperthermia – what is it? Types, causes, symptoms and rules of procedure – Zdrowie Wprost

Hyperthermia - what is it?  Types, causes, symptoms and rules of procedure - Zdrowie Wprost

Rising heat is one of the threats that awaits us in the summer, when we enjoy relaxing outdoors. Hyperthermia, or high body temperature, is diagnosed more and more often, especially during the summer holidays, when it’s hot. Although the climate in Poland is mild, changes in the average air temperature in the summer period are noticeable. As a result, in a relatively short time, the body temperature may rise, especially in infants, young children and the elderly, as a result of direct exposure to sunlight and overheating.

Who is at risk of hyperthermia?

Overheating is a threat to all of us if we forget the necessary safety rules while relaxing by the water, for example. While staying in full sun, we can quickly feel the symptoms of high body temperature, which include, for example, an increased feeling of heat, excessive sweating, as well as weakness and drowsiness. Failure to respond in time or heat shock, which can result from sudden cooling of the skin surface, are common causes of hospitalization.

Important! Babies, young children, the elderly, as well as pregnant women are especially vulnerable to hyperthermia! The same is true for people with heart disease and other chronic diseases. It is worth remembering that hyperthermia can lead to death.

A specific type of hyperthermia is neoplastic hyperthermia, which involves the use of heat energy in the treatment of malignant tumors.

The most common causes of hyperthermia

As mentioned earlier, the most common cause of hyperthermia is high ambient temperature. It can also lead to hyperthermia, among other things, infection with a very high temperature that is resistant to antipyretic drugs, as well as pheochromocytoma. Seek medical advice if the fever rises quickly.

When does hyperthermia occur?

Hyperthermia is diagnosed when the temperature inside our body exceeds 41 degrees Celsius. It is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate professional medical attention. Hyperthermia may occur as a result of increased body temperature during rest and activity in the sun, when the ambient temperature exceeds 30 ° C, while staying in warm and poorly ventilated rooms and cars, and also as a result of damage to body temperature regulation. Center. Very often young children develop a very high fever, which can also lead to hyperthermia. In this case, the first symptom of high body temperature is febrile convulsions.

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One of the common causes of overheating is the heat outside at noon. We often forget that the African heat greatly weakens the body, which poses an additional threat to our health. Most importantly, overheating can be avoided by following the basic rules for enjoying the beautiful weather and outdoor activities in the summer.

Hyperthermia causes a sudden increase in body temperature above the limits that the human body can handle, thanks to the work of thermoregulation processes. As a result of an increase in body temperature, dangerous changes occur in the body, which can lead to increased disturbances in its functioning, leading to death.

Important! Hyperthermia, among other things, threatens infants and young children who remain in enclosed cars. In a car that gets hot, the temperature can rise to 60 degrees Celsius, causing the death of the child. It doesn’t take long for a tragedy to happen – a dozen or so in a hot car is enough for it to be too late to rescue. Unfortunately, accidents that threaten the health and life of infants and children are regularly repeated, so it is absolutely necessary to act when seeing a child who is left alone with a hot car!

Effects of high body temperature

As a result of staying at too high a temperature in the human body, protein denaturation processes begin, which causes irreversible changes in its structure. When the body temperature rises dangerously high, metabolic reactions and changes in cell metabolism are also significantly accelerated. Only to a certain extent, the rise in body temperature is reduced by the natural mechanisms of thermoregulation, the course of which depends, among other things, on general health and age.

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Hyperthermia is primarily a threat to infants, young children, and the elderly. The second group most susceptible to hyperthermia are people who work physically at high temperatures and exercise when the air temperature exceeds 30 ° C, as well as people who take various medications, people with sweat disorders and people with chronic diseases whose internal organs and bodily systems work. not working properly.

Hyperthermia causes dangerous changes in the body, so it is necessary to seek professional medical help at the first signs of a high temperature.

In humans, the appropriate body temperature is about 36.6 ° C, although the norm also includes a slightly lower and slightly higher temperature, which may fluctuate around 37 ° C, which is associated for example with activity and physiological processes that cause an increase in body temperature . We are dealing with an increase in body temperature as a result, for example, an infection, when the internal body temperature exceeds 37 ° C. It should be noted that the discrepancies between the temperature inside the body and on the surface of the skin can be very large, and they are related to the effect of solar radiation and other heat sources on the surface of the skin. Therefore, body temperature measurements should be taken, for example, in the anus or inside the ear.


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Types of hyperthermia

Elevated body temperature due to higher ambient temperatures or direct exposure to sunlight can lead to different types of hyperthermia. Among the types of hyperthermia, for example, environmental hyperthermia. It is associated with exposure to high ambient temperatures and comes in several forms. These include:

  • moderate overheating – occurs when we spend a long time in an environment with a temperature of more than 30 ° C,
  • overheating exhaustion – occurs when the deep body temperature exceeds acceptable standards, and the thermoregulatory system cannot cope with its lowering with the help of thermoregulatory mechanisms,
  • Heat stroke – a threat to health and life, which leads to disturbances in the functioning of enzyme proteins and multi-organ failure.

Hyperthermia can lead to death from cardiac arrest and respiratory failure.

Symptoms of high temperature

Symptoms of hyperthermia are an indication for an immediate call to an ambulance. They include, among others:

  • feeling hot
  • headache and dizziness
  • weakness,
  • fainting
  • disturbances of consciousness
  • blurred vision
  • nausea,
  • vomiting
  • abnormal drowsiness
  • Breathing disorders
  • Accelerated heart rate.

Rules of conduct during hyperthermia – first aid

The occurrence of hyperthermia requires first aid for a person whose deep body temperature has risen dangerously high. Before the ambulance arrives, we must:

  • Check the general condition of the patient.
  • move or move the casualty to a cooler place,
  • providing constant access to fresh air,
  • Gradually lower your body temperature by applying cool compresses to the forehead, neck, armpits, wrists, groin, and ankles.

If a person with a high temperature is conscious, we can give them small amounts of cold water to drink.

hyperthermia treatment

Hyperthermia is treated in hospital and is tailored to your general health. Standard procedures include, inter alia, administering cold fluids intravenously, hydrating the body, and replenishing electrolytes.

In sum, hyperthermia is a health and life-threatening condition associated with an increase in body temperature as a result of internal factors, such as increased fever due to infection and environmental factors, including increased ambient temperature. Hyperthermia in particular threatens infants and young children whose thermoregulation center is not yet fully functional, the chronically ill, pregnant women, the elderly, and people who work physically or play sports when the ambient temperature rises above 30°C.


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