Here’s what happens when you overheat

Your body has a maximum operating temperature, according to a physician who knows an overheated person when she sees one.

When you heat up, your body has ways to keep you at a temperature where your enzymes work optimally, says Jaiva Larsen of the University of Arizona, where the temperature has reached 116° F this week. Enzymes are proteins that speed up specific chemical reactions in the body.

To help keep you cool, you begin to perspire and your blood vessels dilate. But if you begin to overheat, you can become dehydrated from all that sweating, or your electrolyte balance can be disrupted because you’ve taken in too much water and not enough salt. That, in turn, can lead to seizures and other serious problems, says Larsen, an emergency medicine physician at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and medical toxicology fellow.

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