Dr. Vaishak Vidyadhar, Physician with The Bangalore Hospital, Bangalore, India talks about heat cramps, another form of heat-related illness commonly seen in individuals who work with a lot of physical exertion under hot weather conditions. Farmers, day labourers, or athletes are more susceptible to heat cramps.
Heat cramps are involuntary painful twitching of the muscles in legs, arms or abdomen. These cramps are caused due to loss of body’s salt and moisture, through excessive sweating in extreme external environment. The decrease in the salt level in muscles causes these painful cramps.
“Heat cramps should not be a cause for worry as it is one of the mildest forms of heat exhaustion. Drink water with little salt and glucose to restore the lost electrolytes and the bodily fluids.”
Signs of heat cramps are:
- Painful spasms in the legs, arms, abdomen in hot weather
- Dehydration, sweating
- Excessive thirst
The course of treatment involves:
- The person should be taken to a cooler area or under a shade
- Knead or massage the cramped muscles
- Rehydrate the person by giving electrolytes in the form of water with salt and glucose
Here are some ways by which one can avoid getting these heat cramps especially under extreme weather conditions:
- Remain indoors or under shade
- Wear light coloured clothes
- Keep yourself hydrated