Heat Cramps - Symptoms

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What are the signs and symptoms of heat cramps?

Heat cramps are the earliest symptoms of the spectrum of heat-related illness.

  • There is usually significant sweating with involuntary spasm of the large muscles in the body.
  • The muscles that cramp are usually those that have been stressed.
  • Runners and football players tend to get leg muscle cramps, but people who lift objects as part of their job can get cramps in the muscles of the arms or the core trunk muscles like the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus).
  • Heat cramps usually begin after significant activity has occurred, but they also can occur hours after the activity has been completed.

Do individuals with heat cramps tend only to have muscle cramps? If an individual has other signs or symptoms such as lightheadedness, weakness, nausea and vomiting, and headache he or she may be suffering from heat exhaustion. Affected individuals who have stopped sweating or who develop a fever and become confused may be developing heat stroke, which is a true medical emergency.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: omar, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 01

I was playing music at an outdoor picnic in the sun in 90 temperature. When I sat down felt I needed to go to the bathroom with stomach cramps, thought it was eating coleslaw with mayo that was sitting in the sun for about an hour. I tried to throw up but just a little bile came out. I became sweaty, dizzy and pale for about a half hour. I went into the car with air conditioner and had some water. After about an hour the heat cramps started to ease up.

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