Health & Spirit

When you're hot

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In 1971, Nashville superstar Jerry Reed hit the crossover charts with his No. 1 single "When You're Hot, You're Hot." It knocked the record industry out of its comfort zone. Country was supposed to stay country, after all. But it makes sense that a tune with that title would shake things up. After all, hyperthermia (when you're too hot) can make you feel pretty lousy. So, if you're fleeing winter's wrath and heading for the 80- and 90-degree embrace found in warmer climes, stay alert!

Your internal thermostat works to keep your core temperature within 2 degrees of 98.6 F. It's commanded by your brain's hypothalamus, which helps you stay hydrated, maintain salt concentrations and control the release of temperature-regulating chemicals and hormones -- all in coordination with your skin, sweat glands and blood vessels.

But it can get overwhelmed because of a combo of high external temperatures, dehydration, prolonged exercise, medications (diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs), poor circulation and/or obesity. Then you can get hyperthermia. The stages range from heat fatigue and sudden dizziness to heat cramps and exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can cause a strong, rapid pulse, lack of sweating, flushed skin, faintness, staggering, delirium, inappropriate decisions, coma or death. Suspect heat stroke? Call 911.

Clearly, the best remedy is to avoid hyperthermia! Dress appropriately. Drink water BEFORE you get thirsty (avoid added-sugar beverages and alcohol). If you're working or exercising outside, retreat to cooler spaces at least hourly. Then you'll have it made in the shade!


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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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