- First Aid Essentials Slideshow
- Take the Trauma and First Aid Quiz
- First Aid Sprains & Strains Slideshow Pictures
- Patient Comments: Heat-Related Illness - Causes
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Quick GuideDehydration: Causes, Symptoms & Tips to Stay Hydrated
What causes a heat-related illness?
People suffer heat-related illness when the body's normal temperature control system is unable to effectively regulate its internal temperature. Normally, at high temperatures the body primarily cools itself through the evaporation of sweat. However, under certain conditions (air temperatures above 95 F/35 C high humidity), this cooling mechanism becomes less effective. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Furthermore, without adequate fluid intake, excessive fluid losses and electrolyte imbalances may also occur leading to dehydration. In such cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures can damage the brain and other vital organs.