What causes heat intolerance and how to manage it?

Symptom Database

Heat intolerance refers to a condition where an individual experiences difficulty in tolerating or adapting to high temperatures. It can manifest as a range of symptoms and can be caused by various factors. Understanding the causes and learning how to manage heat intolerance is crucial for individuals who are hypersensitive to heat or have weather sensitivity. In this article, we will explore the symptoms, causes, treatment options, and coping strategies for heat intolerance.

Symptoms of Heat Intolerance

Heat intolerance can present with several symptoms, which may vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling hot or overheated
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath

If you experience any of these symptoms when exposed to heat, it is important to understand the underlying causes and seek appropriate management strategies.

Causes of Heat Intolerance

Heat intolerance can be caused by various factors, including:

Medical Conditions

Underlying medical conditions can contribute to heat intolerance. Some conditions that may cause or worsen heat intolerance include:

  • Thyroid disorders: An overactive thyroid gland can increase sensitivity to heat.
  • Autonomic nervous system disorders: Conditions affecting the autonomic nervous system, such as dysautonomia, can disrupt the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
  • Multiple sclerosis: Heat can exacerbate symptoms in individuals with multiple sclerosis.
  • Menopause: Hormonal changes during menopause can lead to increased heat sensitivity.


Certain medications can also contribute to heat intolerance. Examples include:

  • Antidepressants: Some antidepressant medications can affect the body’s temperature regulation.
  • Beta-blockers: These medications can reduce the body’s ability to cool down through sweating.
  • Diuretics: Diuretics can lead to dehydration, making it harder for the body to regulate temperature.


Dehydration can make individuals more susceptible to heat intolerance. When the body lacks adequate fluids, it becomes harder to regulate temperature through sweating. It is essential to stay hydrated, especially in hot weather or during physical activity.

Treatment and Management

While heat intolerance may not be completely curable, there are several strategies to manage and alleviate symptoms. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Some treatment options and management strategies include:

Avoiding Heat Exposure

Avoiding excessive heat exposure is crucial for individuals with heat intolerance. This can involve staying indoors during the hottest parts of the day, using air conditioning or fans to cool the environment, and wearing lightweight and breathable clothing.


Staying hydrated is essential for managing heat intolerance. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, can help regulate body temperature and prevent dehydration. It is important to avoid excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration.

Cooling Techniques

Implementing cooling techniques can provide relief from heat intolerance symptoms. Some effective cooling techniques include:

  • Applying cold compresses or ice packs to the neck, wrists, or forehead
  • Taking cool showers or baths
  • Using cooling towels or misting fans

Medication Adjustments

If heat intolerance is caused or worsened by certain medications, consulting with a healthcare professional to adjust the dosage or switch to alternative medications may be beneficial.

Coping Strategies and Tips

Living with heat intolerance can be challenging, but there are coping strategies and tips that can help individuals manage their condition effectively. Some useful strategies include:

Plan Outdoor Activities Carefully

Avoiding outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day and seeking shade whenever possible can help minimize heat exposure.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Choosing lightweight, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing can aid in heat dissipation and improve comfort.

Stay Informed about Weather Conditions

Monitoring weather forecasts and being aware of heatwaves or extreme temperatures can help individuals plan their activities accordingly and take necessary precautions.

Use Cooling Accessories

Utilizing cooling accessories such as cooling vests, neck wraps, or portable fans can provide relief and help regulate body temperature.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, can help manage stress and reduce the impact of heat intolerance symptoms.


Heat intolerance can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, but with proper understanding and management, it is possible to alleviate symptoms and improve comfort. By identifying the underlying causes, implementing appropriate treatment options, and adopting effective coping strategies, individuals with heat intolerance can better navigate hot weather and maintain their well-being.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
Add a comment