Illustration of a person sweating in the heatBBC Three / David Weller

Feeling hot hot hot: the weird things that happen to your body in extreme heat

Hello halitosis

Natalie Ktena
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We’ve had more than the expected five days of annual sunshine – and with temperatures across these fair isles tipping well into the 30s, we think it's time to call it. Summer is officially HERE. Actual summer.

We've had the hottest day of the year so far, with Porthmadog, in north Wales reaching a very sweaty in 32.6C. And it's so hot in Glasgow that a roof is actually melting. Kind of like how we’re feeling rn. 

Some of us are absolutely loving this extra dose of Vitamin D: 

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But for some, the sun kind of sucks. 

We understand the ire. Hot weather can equal some awkwardly painful chafing. Then there are the unavoidable sweaty underarm patches. And don't even get us started on the relentless tossing and turning during the night.

Also there’s the hay fever. Hay fever, we hate you. 

The Met office has issued a warning of heatwave conditions over the weekend, which got us to thinking about some of the bizarre things that can happen to our bodies in the heat. Did you know that...

...hot weather can give you bad breath

You may be thinking that summer is the ultimate time to start smooth-talking the objects of your desire, but excessive heat can cause you to dehydrate (eerrrm, sweaty much?), which has been proven to have a pretty unsexy side effect – bad breath. 

When you are dehydrated, your mouth becomes dry. Bacteria accumulates because there isn't enough saliva to wash it away. Hello halitosis

“It won’t come as a big surprise that we need to drink more water throughout the warmer months, as the body loses more water naturally through sweating,” explains the bad breath and halitosis expert Dr Harold Katz in Metro.co.uk. “That, coupled with an increase in the use of hay fever medications, fad summer dieting, an increase in outdoor exercising and over-exposure to the sun, can also all exacerbate the problem.”

*fills up (eco-friendly) water bottle*

...the sun can make you strong

You might feel like the sun is giving you an extra spring in your step. And this may actually be happening. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which is linked to strong bones. 

That is why public-health officials even advised us to take supplements in darker autumn months – because a scarcity of sunlight can lead to brittle bones. So get yourself to a park and stock up on some vit D while you can. Obviously be careful you don't get sunburnt in the process.

...serious heat can stop you sweating

When we say 'serious' we mean it. You may think this sounds like a dream, but it can, in fact, be a sign of heat stroke – and needs to be treated as an emergency.

The body’s normal temperature is 37-38C, but if it heats up too much (40-41C), you may find yourself getting heat stroke. At that point, your heat regulatory system can, essentially, pack in, which stops you from sweating, as your body tries to keep water around your vital organs. (*moves to the shade*)

If you suspect that someone is suffering from heat stroke, first call 999. Then you should try to cool them down by applying ice packs to the groin and armpits, where the crucial arteries are located.

Of course, we're not saying you shouldn't roll around in the park with your pals. Just make sure you pile on that sunscreen and fill up those (biodegradable) water bottles, too.