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What are Heat Cramps? 3 Tips to Avoid the Pain

By Virginia Laird

Heat can cause more discomfort than just being hot. There are several heat-related illnesses. Among them, the mildest is heat cramps. These are brief and involuntary cramps, jerks, or spasms of the muscles. Heat cramps generally effect muscles that are exhausted and worked the most, including the calves, thighs, shoulders and arms. Those who are at the highest risk of suffering from such discomfort are those taking part in physical activity and work in the extreme heat, as well as high humidity. This is also typically exclusive to the beginning of such work, specifically the first few days. Rest assured that these are not a medical emergency. There are a few things that can be done to help prevent cramping from coming about, including:

  • Stay hydrated before the work begins
  • Drinking fluids that replace the salt lost while sweating
  • Take breaks while working in the heat

Stay Hydrated Before the Work Begins

Don't wait until it is time to work in the heat to drink plenty of water. To beat any heat-related illness, hydration plays a huge role. Staying hydrated allows the body to sweat. This function is important to the natural cooling system of the body. Make sure to drink enough water on a daily basis. Research suggests that people should drink a minimum of eight, 8-ounce cups of water per day.

Drink Fluids that Replace the Salt Lost While Sweating

While water is typically the best choice of beverage for remaining hydrated, when sweating a lot or in the heat it is important to replace the salt that is lost via sweat. Sports drinks are a great option for this. These have the electrolytes needed to replace all that has been lost. Keep in mind that replacing the salt that has been lost is vital when trying to prevent cramping.

Take Breaks While Working in the Heat

Taking breaks is another important thing to do while working in the heat. Most often, heat cramps take place during the first few days of working or being in the heat. However, they can happen at any time. Taking breaks can offer rest for the muscles and serve as a reminder to take a drink.

Always remember that only you can prevent these from happening. Making your own health a priority is the best way to make certain you are not a victim of heat-related illnesses.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in The Woodlands, Tex.

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