Are You Suffering From Heat Cramps?


Generally, heat cramps can be called as painful, brief muscle cramps wherein the muscles may spasm or jerk involuntarily. Heat cramps may occur during exercise or work in a hot environment or they may start a few hours later. Heat cramps mostly involve muscles that are fatigued by heavy work like calves, thighs, and shoulders. One is most at risk if one is doing work or activities in a hot environment-mostly during the first few days of an activity to which one is not used to. One is also at risk if one sweats a great deal during exercise and drinks large amounts of water or other fluids that lack salt. The symptoms of heat cramps are muscle spasms, painful, involuntary, brief, intermittent and usually self-limited (go away on their own).

Heat Cramps Causes
Though the exact cause of heat cramps is unknown, they are probably related to electrolyte problems. Essential minerals, like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, are known as electrolytes. These undergo chemical changes in your tissues and in case of an imbalance, problems can be caused.

When to Seek Medical Care -
As any patient would know, heat cramps can be quite painful. One should consider seeking medical attention if the symptoms do not go away with rest and even after restoring fluid and electrolytes. One must consult a doctor in case of the following conditions:
1. If one is unable to drink sufficient fluids due to nausea or vomiting. In such a case, one may need IV rehydration with normal saline.
2. Though rarely, heat cramps can even accompany heat exhaustion.
3. If one has more severe symptoms of heat illness, including dizziness, malaise, shortness of breath, fatigue, vomiting, headache, and high temperatures (greater than 104F), call the doctor for instructions.
Self-Care At Home For Heat Cramps -

As already mentioned, heat cramps generally go away without any treatment, only with some rest. They also seem to respond well to home care like resting in a cool place and drink fluid mixed with salt (making a salt solution by mixing 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon table salt dissolved in a quart of water). Even drinking commercially available electrolyte beverages will provide adequate dietary salt intake.

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