Heat Cramps (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Heat cramps facts
- What are heat cramps?
- Who is at risk for heat cramps?
- What causes heat cramps?
- What are the signs and symptoms of heat cramps?
- When should an individual seek medical care for heat cramps?
- How are heat cramps diagnosed?
- What first aid treatments can help heat cramps?
- What are the complications of heat cramps?
- How can heat cramps be prevented
- What is the prognosis for heat cramps?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What are the complications of heat cramps?
There are few long-term consequences of heat cramps, however, once a person experiences heat cramps, they may be at risk for future episodes.
How can heat cramps be prevented?
Prevention is the best treatment for heat cramps. If possible, try to avoid working or exercising in the heat of the day, but if it is required, acclimating to the hot weather is important. Drink plenty of fluids and if the activity lasts a prolonged period of time, consider using sports or balanced electrolyte drinks. This is especially true if significant sweating occurs and electrolytes are lost through sweat. Try to rest in cool or shaded areas whenever possible.
What is the prognosis for heat cramps?
Heat cramps resolve with relatively simple treatments including rest, hydration and stretching. It is important to remember that heat cramps are the initial presentation of heat related illness and may progress to the more serious conditions of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Kravchenko J, etal. Minimization of Heatwave Mortality and Morbidity.American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2013: 44(3) 274-82
Schwellnus MP. Cause of Exercise Associated Muscle Cramps (EAMC) - altered neuromuscular control, dehydration or electrolyte depletion. Br J Sports Med 2009;43:401-408
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