Since we’ve been taking everybody’s forehead temperature lately, I’ve gotten lots of questions/ comments about it. Many patients will say, “It’s hot outside” or “I’m having a hot flash”…. I hope it doesn’t register as a fever”. So far we have not had anyone have a temperature even close to 100.4 degrees F, even with the heat and those of you who have hot flashes! Most patients are walking from the air conditioned car in the heat and as long as you didn’t bike 30 miles to get to the office, this won’t affect your temperature check. I have learned that even though we’re taking your temperature with a touchless forehead thermometer, you have to get your hair off your forehead and remove your hat so we can get an accurate reading.
I often get asked if hot flashes can raise your body temperature as a fever does, so today I thought I would take a closer look at this question and explain what happens your body and temperature when you have a hot flash and how to tell the difference between a slight fever and a hot flash. I have personally taken my temperature during a hot flash, and my temperature is actually lower than normal! Here’s the explanation.
It’s important to understand what the mechanism is for a hot flash. Once you’ve realized what’s going on, it’ll make sense exactly what’s going on in the body. We know that estrogen interacts with the brain and your central nervous system. And the central nervous system helps to control your body temperature. So, when your estrogen starts to fluctuate or you get anxious or stressed, then your body’s thermostat, can go haywire.
The brain then thinks, “I am getting far too hot. The body’s getting too hot. I need to do something quickly before I overheat.” What happens is that your blood vessels suddenly open up and very often, it tends to be the chest area, neck, face, and the head. For some women, it can start in the feet and others, in the hands.
At the same time, your body is so desperate to get that blood to the surface where it can cool down that very often it will induce heart palpitations as well. At this point, your circulation will be whizzing around all over the place trying to get to the surface of your skin so that it can start to cool it down. Although you are feeling really hot and sweaty you may think, “You know, I feel as if I’m having a fever,” but your body temperature doesn’t go up, so you can’t measure it with a thermometer.
What happens is that your skin temperature can increase for a very short time due to all the extra blood that’s surfacing there. The problem is that once your body has done this cooling down process, very often, it can slightly lower your core temperature. This is what I have found when I have taken my temperature during a hot flash.
When that happens, the body then goes into panic mode again, thinking, “Oh, the core temperature is too cold. It’s too cold. We need to get the body temperature back up.” What happens then is very often, you will start to shiver because shivering is your skin and body’s ways of generating heat and bringing your temperature back up again.
So, at that moment, when your body feels extra hot and as I said before, although you’re feeling it really hot, there isn’t actually a rise in your body’s core temperature as such. So, it’s not the same as having a fever.
How to tell the difference between a fever and a hot flash
In most cases, the flush will be over quicker than what you could take your temperature with a thermometer. The difference between that and a fever is that the fever will be prolonged. That feeling of heat will go on. It’s not something that happens very quickly and then subsides. Also, if you have a fever, you will notice a difference in your temperature if you take it with a thermometer.
Info taken from: https://www.avogel.co.uk/health/menopause/videos/do-hot-flushes-raise-body-temperature/