How Hot is too Hot? What Overheating Does to Us

Our bodies are always trying to manage temperature. You run into trouble if the temperature inside your body drops about 10 degrees, but you don’t have nearly as much wiggle room on the hot end of the spectrum. If your internal temperature goes up by just 3 degrees, you’re in serious trouble.

Here’s exactly what overheating does to your body (and why you need to keep your air conditioner in good shape so you don’t have to go without this summer). Keep in mind, this is even worse for children and people over 70 years of age.

A warm evening

its too hotSome family members are at your house for the evening. You all packed into the dining room and it’s a bit warm.

Your body temperature climbs up to 37.5 or 37.8 degrees Celsius, and your body responds in two ways:

  • Flushed skin. Your body vents excess heat through the blood vessles, and that results in a little redness.
  • Sweat. Your body transfers heat from inside to out by sweating (a combination of water and some minerals). As the sweat hits the air and evaporates, so does the heat.

A hot day

At around 38.5 degrees Celsius things are going badly.

Your skin is probably hot to the touch and you’re too dehydrated to sweat it out.

Because your temperature is abnormally high, your body has pushed as much blood to the surface of the skin as it can. It’s all your body knows to do, and it can work at times, but it also causes your blood to lose water through evaporation. Thicker blood increases your chances of stroke and heart attack.

  • You need water.
  • You need an escape from the heat.

You’re slightly dizzy, maybe nauseous and definitely afraid. It doesn’t take long in this state to lose consciousness.

About 2.5 degrees above normal

hot sunWhen your body temperature rises by just 2.5 degrees Celsius, your breathing and pulse shoot through the roof.

You can’t stop yawning as your brain tries to get you to suck in cool air and stay conscious. If the air around you is as warm as you are (which it certainly can be on a summer day in Ontario) the sweat you product won’t evaporate.

You should drink as much as you can get your lips on and eat some salty snacks to replace everything your body loses through sweat.

When it hits 40 degrees Celsius

You might be conscious. Maybe. And your body is totally confused. The normal temperature regulating functions inside your body go haywire.

If somebody nearby tries to cool you down with a cold wet towel, the towel will actually heat up and serve as an insulator, making you hotter.

Chances are your organs have suffered irreversible damage.

Anything higher than this and you’re certainly done for.

Heat is harder on children and older people

Your home needs to provide a reprieve from the heat for family and friends. If your air conditioner breaks down during the extreme heat:

  • You risk severe overheating indoors, with nowhere to escape to.
  • You’ll have to pay the elevated expense that comes with emergency repairs.

We’re happy to perform those emergency repairs, but we’d rather save you money by performing regular maintenance to keep your air conditioner in good shape. That way, you know it won’t break down when you need it most.

Keep your family safe by subscribing to a WeCare Maintenance Plan. It’s affordable and smart.