First Aid: Heat Cramps
Participants enrolled in workplace approved standard first aid courses will learn to recognize and provide care for patients and victims of heat cramps. Heat cramps are brought on by heat stress and recognized as a heat disorder. Heat cramps are painful muscle cramps caused by too much salt and water loss from a result of either too much heat and physical exhaustion or a combination of both. The cramps usually occur in the muscle that has been used most strenuously. Rescuer will learn that the difference between common cramps and heat cramps is that the common cramp can be treated with rest and massage, however, heat cramps required a replenishment of salt and water. To learn more about treating heat cramps and other environmental emergencies take a standard first aid course with one of our training providers located in Canada. Training providers are located in Ottawa, Kelowna, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg.
The signs and symptoms of Heat Cramps:
The typical signs and symptoms of heat cramps include muscular pain, spasms and excessive sweating. A history check of the patient should help determine whether the patient is suffering from heat cramps. The patient may also have lowered levels of consciousness.
Treatment for Heat Cramps:
Rescuers should remove the patient from the environment that is causing the heat cramps. If possible the rescuer(s) should lay the worker on his or back and remove any tight fitting clothing. If possible place the victim in a
cooled environment and cool the worker with water. If the victim has a good level of consciousness he or she can wade into a pool. If the patient is fully alert the patient can ingest oral fluids, joice or water with a solution of salt. Alcoholic, caffeinated and other diuretic beverages are not recommended.The patient can also be cooled with sponged water, fanning or by placing a wet towel over the patient. The patients airway should be maintained and the rescuer should monitor the patients vitals. If the condition of the patient does not improve the rescuer should contact emergency medical services (EMS) through the use of a bystander.
The patient should not continue to work or exert him or herself after the situation has improved. Continuing to work can lead to more significant conditions and disorders such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
To prevent heat cramps people should stay hydrated, monitor work levels, do not overexert in hot environments and have good level’s of fitness and a health diet.