Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Water from Muscles

Scientists have "discovered" that the body wrings water out of muscles when drinking water is scarce.  Well, duh.  That's why muscles cramp on a hot day as dehydration begins to set in.  It's a possible source of cramps when swimming for long periods in saltwater.  It's a cause of worse problems from long-term dehydration, as when migrant workers are forced to labor in hot sun without bathroom or drinking breaks.  We'll see a lot more of this as climate change progresses, but it's not new.

Survival tip: If you're working in hot conditions and you get cramps, stop and take a break.  Rest somewhere cool and shady.  Drink till you slosh.  Replace salts and minerals with a good sport drink, or make your own with water, fruit juice, and a pinch or two of mineral salt.  Take a multivitamin, as certain vitamin deficiencies also cause cramps.  If the cramps go away, you should be fine, just take more care in the future.  If the cramps do not go away, or get worse, you may have damaged your body and it would be prudent to seek medical care if it is available.  Make sure to tell the medics that you were working in the heat. 

And everyone should keep an eye on news about heat and water health issues, because those will become more urgent concerns in the future.  We'll probably learn a lot more about how those things can cripple or kill people as it happens more often, and how to ameliorate the damage.
Tags: nature, news, safety, science, wildlife
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