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Health Tip: Heat Cramps Shouldn't Be Ignored

Here's what to do if you get them

(HealthDay News) -- Heat cramps occur in people who are exerting themselves during periods of significant heat and humidity. They shouldn't be ignored, because heat cramps can be the first signs of more serious conditions, including heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

The American Red Cross suggests these steps if you get heat cramps or additional warning signs of heat-related illness:

  • If you have heat cramps or more serious symptoms of heat-related illness, immediately stop all activity and rest. Go to an air-conditioned or shady place, if possible.
  • Symptoms of more serious heat-related illness include: moist, pale skin; headache, dizziness, weakness, exhaustion or nausea.
  • Drink cool water or a sports drink slowly and in small amounts.
  • Stretch the cramped muscles, and hold the stretched position for about 20 seconds. Repeat the stretching until the cramps have stopped.
  • If symptoms persist, seek immediate medical attention. Resume activity only if you no longer have any symptoms. But be very careful of overexertion and overheating.
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