What causes feels hot to touch? 167 possible conditions

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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

Feels Hot to Touch News

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.



The term fever describes a body temperature that is higher than normal. According to the Mayo Clinic, normal body temperature is typically 37 degrees C, or 98.6 degrees F, though this can vary. A short-term increase i...

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Fever of Unknown Origin

Fever of unknown origin (FUO) refers to the elevation in body temperature for a specified time, for which a cause is not found after basic medical evaluation.

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Common Cold Overview

The common cold is a virus that involves symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose and a headache. Learn the causes, symptoms and treatments for the common cold now!

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Middle Ear Infection

A middle ear infection (otitis media) occurs when the area behind the eardrum becomes inflamed and fluid filled as a result of an infection or allergies. The condition is most common in children. It can cause pain...

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Viral Gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu, is caused by a number of different viruses. Its symptoms usually last for two to three days.

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Pharyngitis is inflammation of the pharynx (the back of the throat). This can cause soreness, scratchiness, and difficulty swallowing. Most cases occur during colder months when the humidity is low.

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Cold and Flu Overview

Overview Colds (common colds) and the flu (influenza) are contagious infections that affect the respiratory system. Both are airborne illnesses, spread through coughing and sneezing. Colds typically are confined to th...

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Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. General symptoms include chest pain, fever, cough, nausea, and difficulty breathing. Blue skin, high fever, and bloody mucus are serious signs.

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Infectious Mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis, or "mono," is a group of symptoms caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. One potential symptom is a pink rash that looks like the measles.

Read more »


The Atypical Facts About Atypical Pneumonia

Atypical pneumonia that is caused by mycoplasma bacteria, one possible symptom is a rash.

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Cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection. Cellulitis may first appear as a red, swollen area that feels hot and tender to the touch. The redness and swelling often spread rapidly. Cellulitis is usually painful.I...

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Tonsils are the two lymph nodes located on each side of the back of your throat. They function as a defense mechanism, helping to prevent infection from entering the rest of your body. When the tonsils themselves becom...

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Urinary Tract Infection

The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, ureters (which connect the kidneys and the bladder), bladder, and urethra. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can occur in any part of the urinary tract. Most UTIs are caused b...

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RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) Infection

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common virus that can affect individuals of all ages. It is more common among children and infants than it is among adults. For adults and healthy children, RSV causes symptom...

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Food Poisoning

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Every year, millions of people eat food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The result can be food poisoning, an uncomfortable experience characterized by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. One in si...

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Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat. This common condition is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria . Strep throat can affect children and adults of all ages...

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This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix. It may be acute or chronic. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine states that appendicitis is the most common medical emergency in the United States. More than 250,00...

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When you breathe, the tissues that line your lungs and chest wall, called the pleura, rub together. Normally this is not a problem, since the tissue is satiny and generates no friction. However, when this tissue i...

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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the reproductive organs in women. The pelvis is located in the lower abdomen and includes the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, the cervix, and the uterus. According t...

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Sinus Infections (Sinusitis)

A sinus infection, or sinusitis, is a common condition that affects 31 million people in the United States each year. The infection occurs when your sinuses and nasal passages become inflamed. The sinuses are small ai...

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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