What happens to your body when you move from a hot to a cold environment or vice versa?

Written By Mark

Can moving from a warm to a cold place or vice versa affect human health? Our bodies get used to a certain climate, and when the temperature around us changes suddenly, our bodies try to adapt to the new situation.

Sometimes our bodies have difficulty adapting, which can lead to some diseases. Below we discuss the effect of temperature changes on the body’s health.

Respiratory problems

Breathing cold air can lead to respiratory problems, especially in people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cold air can constrict the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Exposure to high temperatures can worsen respiratory conditions by increasing airway sensitivity and promoting inflammation.

Weakening of the immune system

High temperatures can temporarily weaken your immune response, according to the American Heart Association, increasing your susceptibility to infection and inflammation. This is especially worrisome during heat waves when your risk of infectious diseases is higher because your body’s ability to fight off pathogens is weakened.

Thermal shock, hyperthermia or hypothermia

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sudden changes in temperature can cause heat shock, which disrupts the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature. This can lead to hyperthermia in hot environments or hypothermia in cold environments. Prolonged exposure to cold can lead to hypothermia, which is life-threatening.

In hot environments, the risk of overheating increases, which can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke if not treated properly. Symptoms include high body temperature, nausea, dizziness, and confusion.

Tips to help you move between places where temperatures vary

  • Wear layers: Wear layers of clothing that you can adjust to help your body adjust to temperature changes, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen before going outside.
  • MoisturizingKeep your body hydrated by drinking water, as this helps the body regulate temperature better. Increased water secretion, such as through sweating, may lead to dehydration and heat intolerance later on.
  • Gradual adaptationWhenever possible, move gradually between extreme temperatures to allow your body to adjust.
  • Protection: Keep extremities protected in cold environments and use breathable fabrics in hot environments to prevent overheating.