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Heat Stroke In Babies – Causes, Symptoms And Prevention

4 min read

With the onset of summer and outside temperatures soaring to unbearable levels, children – especially infants and toddlers – are the first and the worst affected of all. Instances of  heat stroke are increasing during summer. As the outside temperature rises, our body temperature also rises. This cause  loss of water and salts from the body. This is a typical case of heat exhaustion. Babies are affected to a greater extent than adults as their bodies have fewer sweat glands as compared to adults. Read on to know a little more about the causes, symptoms and prevention of heat Stroke In Babies.
heat stroke in babies

  • What Is Heat Stroke?
  • Causes Of Heat Stroke In Babies
  • Symptoms Of Heat Stroke In Babies
  • Brain Damage In Babies Due To Overheating
  • Treating Heat Stroke In Babies
  • How To Prevent Heat Stroke In Babies?

What Is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke is a life threatening condition that happens when a person’s body gets overheated. In a heat stroke, the body temperature rises up to 105° F (40.5° C) or higher and the body loses its ability to regulate its temperature. This condition can be potentially dangerous in adult, and hence it shouldn’t take much to realize that it could prove fatal in babies. Also read: Baby Care During Summers

Causes Of Heat Stroke In Babies

  • While rising outside temperatures is the primary cause of a heat stroke in babies, high temperature combined with humidity can potentially increase the risk of a heat stroke
  • Again, even during normal temperatures, wrapping the baby in too many layers of clothes, uncomfortable or tight fitting clothes, and clothes made of material that is not a good absorbent of sweat can also lead to instances of heat strokes in babies
  • While it is common sense, it is important to mention that leaving the baby alone in a hot car seat, even for a couple of minutes, could lead to potential death from a heat stroke. Hence, it is best to carry the baby along when you step out of your parked vehicle and never leave the baby unattended in a stationary vehicle

Symptoms Of Heat Stroke In Babies

Your baby will show mild to moderate signs of heat exhaustion such as unusual thirst and tiredness. With heat exhaustion progressing to a heat stroke, the baby will begin to show signs of muscle heat cramps such as stomach and leg cramps, followed by incessant crying. The striking symptoms of heat stroke that you will observe are:

  • Rise in body temperature, but without any sweating
  • Skin turning dry and hot red
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Rapid pulse, rapid and shallow breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Headache

Brain Damage In Babies Due To Overheating

Leaving a baby behind in a car (which should never be done by parents) can cause serious heat stroke in the baby. In several cases, it has proved to be fatal for the child. Overheating in babies under such circumstances could lead to potential brain damage. Early recognition of symptoms such as central nervous system disturbances, hot, dry skin and hyperpyrexia is important. Other conditions that need immediate attention in such a situation are renal failure, seizures, hematologic abnormalities (blood-related abnormalities) and irregular functioning of the liver.
baby having heat stroke

Treating Heat Stroke In Babies

As parents, it is important to get into action as soon as you realize that your baby is experiencing a heat exhaustion. Immediate relief is important and necessary to ensure that the damage isn’t too much. Here are the steps that you need to take:

  • As soon as you notice weakness, dizziness and nausea in your baby, take them into the shade
  • Remove any extra layers of clothing on your child. In fact, it is advised to remove all the clothing off your baby. You could also loosen tight fitting clothes to offer that much-needed immediate relief from stifling clothes
  • You need to have your baby lie down with their feet slightly elevated
  • You may sponge the child with cool water or spray the baby with mist, to cool off the body surface
  • Offer your baby some water or re-hydrating solution, as available
  • If your baby is vomiting, remember to turn them to their side to prevent them from choking
  • If you realize that your baby has trouble breathing and has developed a rapid pulse, make sure you call the emergency helpline and seek immediate medical help
  • If heat exhaustion progresses to become a heat stroke and the baby appears confused or loses consciousness, call the emergency helpline immediately and rush the baby to a healthcare center or hospital

How To Prevent Heat Stroke In Babies?

It is important to keep the baby cool and comfortable during the hot summer months. With the sun blazing and sun-rays cutting through the skin, it is best to keep the baby indoor. In addition to this common preventive action, here are a couple of preventive measures that you could follow:

  • Make sure you feed the child ample fluids, water and re-hydrating solutions throughout the day. While humidity saps away bodily fluids and nutrients, water can help replenish them. Read :Guidelines For Taking Care Of Your Baby In Summers
  • Also, ensure that you dress your baby in light-colored, skin-friendly and loose clothes such that they do not cause skin-irritation and constrict the baby’s movements. Read: How To Dress A Baby In Summers – Safe Summer Dressing Tips For Babies
  • This leads me to mention that parents must keep an eye out on the baby’s body temperature, even during pleasant and cool months, especially while they sleep. Simple, comfortable clothing, skin-friendly bedding material and a well-ventilated (and preferably air-conditioned) room, are key to keeping your baby cool while they sleep
  • It is also important to keep an eye out for the heat advisories charted out by government agencies. Ensure that you remain indoors on days when a heat advisory has been issued in your area, and keep the baby in a cool room

Hope the information about causes, symptoms and prevention of heat Stroke In Babies is helpful. As parents, it is our responsibility to be alert and attentive to our baby’s response to the weather and environment. Stay cool, stay comfortable and enjoy the summers!
Happy parenting to you!

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