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Warning: If you encounter a life threatening or an emergency situation when hiking or camping seek professional assistance as fast as possible. Hikers, campers, hunters and fisherman should take first aid classes before venturing into the wild or before engaging in strenuous or potentially dangerous outdoor activities.

Heat Cramps First Aid for Hikers

During heavy exertion such as hiking in warm or hot weather painful, involuntary muscle spasms may occur that are called heat cramps. A dehydrated hiker is especially vulnerable to getting heat cramps.

Symptoms of Heat Cramps:

The pain of heat cramps can affect a hikers leg muscles, calves, abdominal wall, back or even arms. Any muscle group that is over exerted in heat may feel the pain of heat cramps.

Treatment of Heat Cramps:

If the heat cramps do not go away after an hour of rest, fluids and stretching, it is time to seek medical attention.

While heat cramps are usually not dangerous, they can be quite uncomfortable and be the precursor to the more dangerous heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Properly hiker hydration and reasonable exertion in hot weather should reduce or completely eliminate heat cramps when hiking in the Smokies.

Heat Exhaustion First Aid for Hikers

Heat exhaustion can strike suddenly without warning and can range in severity from mild heat cramps to potentially deadly heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion in hikers is caused by heavy exertion in a hot environment often accompanied by dehydration caused by excessive fluid loss through perspiration.

Additional factors which may contribute to heat exhaustion are the intake of caffeine or alcohol, obesity, cardiovascular disease, medications, or persons with an impaired ability to sweat.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

Get immediate medical attention if a hiker faints, has seizures, has a body temperature of more than 102 F (38.9 C), or exhibits signs of confusion.

Treatment for heat exhaustion:

It's a good idea for any hiker who experiences significant heat exertion, especially one with existing medical conditions to be checked out by a professional health practitioner as soon as possible.

Heat Stroke First Aid for Hikers

If you think a hiker is suffering from heat stroke you must get immediate medical attention! If you don't have someone else to send for help along with you, stabilize the hiker in heat stroke first but get professional help as quickly as possible.

Heatstroke is a potentially deadly heat related syndrome that occurs when the human body loses its ability to deal with heat stress by using its normal mechanisms for dealing with heat such as such as sweating and thermal control and is often caused by improper hydration and heavy exertion in hot weather such as hiking uphill or with heavy packs.

Untreated Heat Exhaustion can rapidly turn into Heat Stroke. The factors that cause, raise the risk factor or can exacerbate heat exhaustion are the same for heat stroke.

The main sign that someone is going into heat stroke when hiking is that their body temperature can reach 104 F (40 C) and beyond at which point the hikers may exhibit personality changes, confusion and even go into a coma.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

Treatment for heat exhaustion: