HEALTH ENCYCLOPEDIA

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Feeling Hot to Touch

Definition

The body is hotter than normal body temperature when touched.

Alternative Names

Feverish, feel hot, feeling hot, feels hot and feverish, hot to touch

Overview

Sometimes a person’s skin feels hot to touch due to illness or an environmental situation that causes an increase is temperature. One cause can be dehydration. It’s important to determine if the person has an increased body temperature caused by a fever. If a fever is present, it may be treated with fluids and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like acetominophen or ibuprofen.

Aspirin should not be used to treat fever in anyone under age 17 years or younger. None of these drugs should be used to treat environmental heat illness. The very young, very old, and obese people are especially vulnerable to dehydration. It’s important to make sure they are taking in enough fluids during the day, and protected from extremely hot environmental temperatures.

Common Causes

  • fever
  • high environmental temperature or particularly combined with high humidity
  • not drinking enough fluids (dehydration)
  • sweating too much during exercise
  • wearing clothes that are too heavy
  • drinking alcohol containing beverages
  • medications like anticholinergics, diuretics, phenothiazines, neuroleptics and illicit drugs
  • infections, particularly caused by viruses
  • alcohol withdrawal
  • appendicitis or other body infection
  • sweat gland problem
  • chicken pox
  • fever, fever of unknown origin
  • Crohn’s disease
  • measles
  • German measles
  • giardiasis
  • heat stroke
  • dehydration
  • heat exhaustion
  • heat cramps
  • hepatitis
  • infectious mononucleosis
  • infectious endocarditis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • mastitis
  • mumps
  • sepsis
  • tetanus
  • West Nile Virus

Associated Diagnoses

Treatments

Keep the person in a cool, shaded place and apply cool wet cloths to their skin. Placing cool compresses on the groin, neck, and armpit helps lower the body temperature. Provide about a half a cup of cool fluids every quarter of an hour.

Watermelon is especially helpful in hot weather because it’s high in natural sugars and fluids and it appeals to kids and the elderly. Popsicles work for the same reason. The important thing is to try to keep the person hydrated with fluids in any way you can.

When to Call 911

Call 911 if:

  • the person loses consciousness
  • the person is confused, lethargic, or delirious
  • the person is disoriented or has a seizure
  • the person is breathing rapidly or has a rapid pulse
  • the person’s condition deteriorates

When to Call Your Provider

Call a doctor if:

  • the person is vomiting and unable to hold down fluids
  • the skin forms "tents" when pinched and does not return to normal
  • the temperature is over 102 degrees F and does not respond to the above measures

Content licensed from:

Written by: The Healthline Editorial Team
Published on: Dec 17, 2014on: Oct 27, 2016

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
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