Sunstroke In Children

Sunstroke In Children – Symptoms And Things To Do

Updated on July 5, 2024

In the hot summer season, children might not pay attention to enough hydration and that can cause sunstroke in children. Parents should take proper care of their children to get enough hydration in their bodies. Ensure children wear loose-fitting clothes, preferably cotton, which is essential for air movement. Sunstroke can be dangerous if not treated timely. This article covers some of the most important aspects to keep in mind about sunstroke in children, its symptoms and what one needs to do.

What is Sunstroke?

Sunstroke, also known as heatstroke, is a life-threatening condition in which the body’s heat-regulating system fails due to exposure to high temperatures. It happens when the body is unable to rid itself of excess heat due to vigorous activity or a very hot environment. High temperatures can cause the body’s major organs to fail.

What are the signs and symptoms of sunstroke?

The main sign of heatstroke is a markedly elevated body temperature (greater than 104 degrees F) with changes in mental status ranging from personality changes to confusion and coma. The skin may be hot and dry — although if heatstroke is caused by exertion, the skin may be moist.

Other signs and symptoms may include

  • Rapid heartbeat/pulse
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Elevated or lowered blood pressure
  • Stoppage of sweating
  • Irritability, confusion or unconsciousness
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Headache
  • Nausea (Vomiting)
  • Fainting, which may be the first sign in older adults

Sunstroke in Children

As we are all aware in this heat of summer children might not pay attention to enough hydration. So they will end up having a heatstroke. Heatstroke is nothing but due to very high temperature, the body gets exhausted mainly because of the loss of the volume of fluid that has been lost from the body.

What are the symptoms they can come up with? They can come with extremely high temperatures, they can come with reduced urine output, and they can have persistent vomiting. In the more severe cases, the child can have an altered mental status. That means the child may be very drowsy. It may be in extreme cases they may go into a coma also. So it could be a dangerous condition.

What are the things that we can do at home to prevent this? Prevent exposure to overheating. That is a major thing that you have to take and take care of. And another one is hydration. Hydration is nothing but giving an adequate volume of water. It could be just water, juice or anything that is liquid that is freely available at home you give that. Take care of the temperature along by giving some antibiotics may be just paracetamol and along with that do a body sponge. The most common habit that we do is just sponging. We just keep it on the overhead or just over the chest. No that’s not the way of sponging. All you have to do is take the cloth dip it in normal lukewarm water or just normal water and wipe the body from head to toe till the body temperature is cooled down. And not just keeping the cloth over the head or over the body. And whenever there are red signs especially when the child is very lethargic, the child is not eating well, that child is very inactive, and is not passing urine and this is the time you have to consult your doctor. To add to this it’s important to also encourage smaller children to wear loose-fitting clothes and not very tight and preferably cotton.

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If you find any symptoms of sunstroke in children, you should immediately take proper care and consult a Doctor at the earliest. Sunstroke is not only dangerous for children but also for adults. The most important thing is to drink lots of liquids and maintain the body at a normal temperature when doing outdoor activities. Before going out in the scorching sun, drink enough water and also cover the body with light-coloured, preferably cotton, clothes. Take breaks often to drink water or other liquids and keep the body water level. You must have heard the proverb, ‘prevention is better than cure.’

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References & Credits: Dr Sindhu MV (Paediatric Intensivist) & Dr Nanditha R (Paediatric Intensivist) at Aster RV. You can watch the video

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