Heat Stroke in Children and Babies | Revere Health

Children are more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke than healthy adults, which is why it’s essential for parents to know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and how to prevent it.

Heat Exhaustion: The Precursor to Heat Stroke

Typically heat stroke occurs when a person’s core body temperature reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit, but this number varies from person to person. That is why it is so important to recognize when your child begins to develop heat exhaustion. Signs of heat exhaustion include the following:

  • Weakness and extreme fatigue
  • Increased and almost insatiable thirst
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Fainting
  • Cool, clammy skin
  • Headache
  • Increased body temperatures

When Heat Exhaustion Becomes Heat Stroke

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can quickly turn into heat stroke. Heat stroke is a dangerous and life-threatening condition, and it should be treated as a medical emergency. Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe headache
  • Labored breathing and increased heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Flushed, hot and dry skin
  • Little to no sweating
  • A body temperature of 105 degrees or higher

If your child demonstrates any of these symptoms, get him or her to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. Your reaction time could mean the difference between life and death.

How To Recognize Heat Stroke in Babies

Babies, unlike toddlers, cannot express pain verbally. For this reason, you need to be extra vigilant when out with your infant on a hot day. Some signs of heat stroke to watch out for in infants include:

  • A temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Rapid pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Hot, red and dry skin
  • Shallow breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Unconsciousness

If you suspect that your baby has heat stroke, call 911 right away. While waiting for the paramedics to arrive, try bring down your child’s internal temperature:

  • Undress your little one and lay him or her in a shaded and cool location
  • Sponge bathe your baby with a washcloth dipped in cool water.
  • Use an electric fan to keep your child’s temperature down.

How To Prevent Heat Stroke in Babies

It doesn’t take much to prevent heat stroke in your little one:

  • Dress your baby in loose-fitting, lightweight clothing on hot days
  • Keep him or her out of direct sunlight
  • If possible, make sure your little one stays in the shade during the hottest part of the day
  • When in the car, keep the windows up and AC on
  • Make sure that your child has plenty of liquids to drink, especially when temperatures are higher than normal
  • If your home doesn’t have AC, bring your baby to a library or the mall to find relief from the heat

Heat stroke can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. By familiarizing yourself with the causes and symptoms, you can protect your little one and ensure that he or she stays healthy and happy in the heat. To learn more about how you can keep your child healthy, talk to your doctor.

Revere Health Orem Family Medicine is devoted to comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages and providing thorough and timely healthcare for the entire family throughout all stages of life.

Sources:

“Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke, and Your Toddler: What Parents Need to Know.” Isa Down, Parents.

https://www.parents.com/health/heat-exhaustion-heat-stroke-and-your-toddler-what-parents-need-to-know/

“First Aid: Heat Illness.” Kids Health.  https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/heat-exhaustion-heatstroke-sheet.html

 

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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