Feels Hot to Touch
Sometimes a person feels hot to touch due to illness or environmental situation that causes elevated core temperature. A compounding factor can...

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The body is hotter than normal body temperature when touched.

Alternative Names:

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


Sometimes a person feels hot to touch due to illness or environmental situation that causes elevated core temperature. A compounding factor can be dehydration (lack of fluids. In any case, it is important to determine if the person has elevated body temperature caused by a fever (use a thermometer to determine the person’s temperature). If a fever (often caused by an infection like a virus) 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 so it is 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

Associated Diagnoses

  • 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


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 is high in natural sugars and fluids and 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.

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

Call your provider 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

Published By: Healthline Networks Inc.
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