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Heat Cramps

Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body's salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.

Recognizing Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms - usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs - that may occur in association with strenuous activity. If you have heart problems or are on a low sodium diet, get medical attention for heat cramps.

What to Do

If medical attention is not necessary, take these steps:

Stop all activity, and sit quietly in a cool place.
Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.
Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hours after the cramps subside because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Seek medical attention for heat cramps if they do not subside in 1 hour.

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