heat cramp

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Related to heat cramp: heat stroke, heat exhaustion


a painful spasmodic muscular contraction.
heat cramp spasm accompanied by pain, weak pulse, and dilated pupils; seen in workers in intense heat.
recumbency c's cramping in the muscles of the lower limbs and feet occurring while resting or during light sleep.
writers' cramp a muscle cramp in the hand caused by excessive use in writing.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

heat cramp

Skeletal muscle spasm caused by the excess fluid and/or electrolyte loss that occurs with profuse sweating. The usual muscles affected are those used during work, i.e., the hand, arm, or leg muscles. The cramps may come on during work or up to 18 hr after completing a work shift.


The patient should be rehydrated by drinking cool water or an electrolyte-containing drink, such as diluted juice or a commercially marketed sports drink. The severity of the cramp can be decreased through passive stretching and/or massage of the muscle. Severe heat cramps may require the use of an intravenous electrolyte solution, such as normal saline or Ringer's solution.


Heat cramps may be prevented by maintaining proper hydration by drinking water or commercial electrolyte drinks before and during exposure to hot, humid environments. Normal dietary amounts of electrolytes and salt should be encouraged during meals.

See also: cramp
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive?
As mentioned, EHI has a wide spectrum of presentation ranging from heat cramps to exertional heat stroke (EHS).
Heat cramps are treated by getting out of the heat and replacing fluids and salt.
Heat cramps are simply involuntary muscle contractions in conjunction with pain and the inability of the victim to relax the muscle(s) involved.
Likelihood also prevails that cases of heat cramps, heat syncope, prickly heat, sunburn, heatstroke and other summer diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, gastro, typhoid and hepatitis A&E may increase with rising temperature, she maintained.
That means a greater susceptibility to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke (also called sunstroke), in order of increasing severity.
* Heat cramps. These should be treated with passive stretching, icing, and fluids.
Hyperthermia is the name given to a variety of heat-related illnesses that can include heat stroke, heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after exercising in the heat), heat cramps and heat exhaustion.
"People subject to high temperature conditions for long periods can suffer from a range of problems such as heat exhaustion and heat cramps.
* Heat cramps are the painful tightening of muscles in your stomach area, arms, or legs.
* Heat cramps usually occur during vigorous exertion in hot, humid environments; leg muscles are commonly effected.
Long exposure to hot, humid weather can result in heat cramps or heat exhaustion, and if heat stress continues, a person may suffer heat stroke, which can be fatal.