Home Health How the Body Copes with Extreme Heat

How the Body Copes with Extreme Heat


Human body’s normal core temperature is 37-38C (98.6 –100.4F).

If it heats up to 39-40C (102.2-104F), the brain tells the muscles to slow down and fatigue sets in. At 40-41C (102.2-105.8F) heat exhaustion is likely – and above 41C the body starts to shut down.

Chemical processes start to be affected, the cells inside the body deteriorate and there is a risk of multiple organ failure.Human body and extreme heat

The body cannot even sweat at this point because blood flow to the skin stops, making it feel cold and clammy.

Heatstroke – which can occur at any temperature over 40C – requires professional medical help and if not treated immediately, chances of survival can be slim.

There are a number of things people can do to help themselves. These include:

  • wearing damp clothes which will help lower the body’s temperature
  • sticking one’s hands in cold water
  • placing fans next to windows as this will draw air from outside, which should be cooler
  • wearing looser clothes
  • having a lukewarm shower rather than a cold one
  • fanning the face rather than other parts of the body