Heat Cramps

  • Medical Author:
    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.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    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.

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What first aid treatments can help heat cramps?

Most first aid treatment for heat cramps can occur before seeking medical care:

  • stop the activity being performed,
  • get to a cooler place,
  • drink plenty of fluids, and
  • gently stretch the muscles that are cramping.

At the health care professional's office or a hospital, medical care focuses on symptom relief.

It makes it difficult to replace body fluids if the patient has nausea or vomiting, so intravenous fluids may be administered. Anti-nausea medications like promethazine (Phenergan), prochlorperazine (Compazine), droperidol (Inapsine), or ondansetron (Zofran) may be used to control those symptoms.

Painful muscles may be treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, and others) or naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, Naprelan). Though it is a non-prescription medication, it is important to remember that there may side effects or interactions with prescription medications. When you are not certain which medication to consider, consult your health care professional or pharmacist as a helpful information resource.

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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/17/2015

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