Heat Cramps & Heat Stroke

Heat Cramps

What are heat cramps? Heat cramps are a form of muscle spasms that occur when your body loses large amounts of water and salt due to strenuous workouts. 

Symptoms include sudden onset of severe intermittent muscle pain or spasm following strenuous exertion in high heat and humidity. Often affects the calf, thigh or abdomen, but may be felt elsewhere. Symptoms also may include pale, moist skin.

If treating heat cramps on another person, here are the steps.

  1. Take the person out of the heat and to a cool, shaded, ventilated area.
  2. Give person sips of salt water (about 2 pinches of salt in 8-10 fl. Oz. of water)
  3. To help relieve muscle cramp, apply warm packs, then gently massage the affected area or apply pressure with your hands.


If you are dealing with heat stroke also known as sunstroke, it is considered a medical emergency, so if you think someone has heat stroke call 911 immediately and provide first aid until emergency aid arrives. Heatstroke is deadly and can cause damage to internal organs and to the brain. Heatstroke typically affects people over the age of 50, but it can also affect young athletes.

Heatstroke frequently happens due to a development in other heat-related injuries, like heat cramps, and heat exhaustion. On the other hand, heat stroke can strike even without previous heat injuries.

Symptoms include:

One of the main symptoms of heat stroke is a core body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If the temperature is close but not passed 104 degrees, fainting can be one of the first signs.

 Other symptoms may include:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
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