Sunstroke in babies and kids

pregnancy and baby care

So many people like summers a lot overwinters or any other season. That’s because you can stay in AC the whole day, wear lightweight comfortable clothes, drink lots of cold drinks and ice cream, and enjoy yourself at the beach with family and friends. Many schools give summer holidays too, for children to stay at home. The beautiful part of the summer season is that it comes in a combination of summer and rainy seasons. After a few days after the summer starts, it rains lightly for a few days, and then it becomes more hotter. What I love in summer the most is MANGOES. They are of course the king of fruits and everyone likes them.
Though summers seem so exciting, they can also be dangerous due to their very hot temperature during the daytime. Some countries have very hot temperatures while others have normal temperatures. Some regions have high humidity during summer and others have very low humidity. It all depends on which country and region you live in. In India, summers are a bit tough. Western cities in India like Rajasthan and Delhi have very temperatures above 45 degrees during the daytime. I have always wondered how people in this region protect themselves from heatstroke. But they have their own techniques to stay away from heatstroke. I live in Hyderabad, where the temperature is hot but no humidity. So we feel a little bit relaxed here. Towns and cities like Andhra Pradesh, Guntur, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu are close to the Indian Ocean and have very high humidity. People living in this region, especially children and kids have to be very careful about sunstroke during the daytime in summer.
What is sunstroke or Heatstroke?
Heatstroke is a medical emergency illness that can damage the brain, and internal organs, and lead to dehydration and death if not treated on time. This illness is more common in infants, kids, children, and adults who are exposed to the sun during the daytime in hot summers. It is a medical condition in which your body temperature can reach up to 104 degrees Celcius suddenly. And we all know that when our body reaches this temperature we may faint, feel drowsy, have no appetite, have dehydration, and it can also cause damage to the brain and other internal organs in our body. Medical attention is required as soon as possible when you see someone having these symptoms.
Some people might experience fewer symptoms or less heatstroke. They may have a temperature above 100, continuous vomiting, less appetite, full weakness, a hot forehead, and dehydration. This also should be treated on time or else it may become severe and their body might become very very weak and cause damage to the internal organs. My 3-year-old son also suffered from this heatstroke. In this article, I will tell you how sunstroke affected my baby’s health and what treatment was done.
Note that some people’s bodies are used to working in hot weather and humid climate. Their body is used to it and they may not experience severe illness. But young children and older adults are more prone to heatstroke than others as they have a weak immune system.
Signs and symptoms of Heatstroke:-
  • Body temperature above 100 degrees Celsius.
  • A very hot forehead or skin.
  • Vomiting after every meal.
  • Irregular breathing.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Dehydration.
  • Nausea.
  • Headache.
  • Weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Seizures.
  • Irritability.

Immediate Treatment:-

  1. Give a sponge bath with cold water immediately.
  2. Let him sit in the bathtub with cold water.
  3. Apply an ice pack to his forehead to cool him down.
  4. Rub his whole body with a wet cloth to cool the body temperature immediately.
  5. Remove excess clothing.
  6. Apply coconut oil to his head and hair.
  7. Apply ice packs on the forehead, armpits, and groin.
  8. Give lots of fluids. Include buttermilk, coconut water, sugarcane juice, glucose, and fresh homemade juices in his diet as he may not be able to take any meals or food due to stomach upset.
  9. Keep the patient in AC or any other cool place.
  10. Go to the hospital as soon as you can. It’s always better to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Causes of heatstroke:-
  • Going out in the sun in the afternoon from 11 am to 3 pm. Even a 5-minute walk or standing under the sun at this time can cause heatstroke.
  • Drinking less water or fluids during summer.
  • Staying in a parked car under the sun for long hours.
  • Exercising or playing under the sun for long hours.
  • Wearing excess clothing.
  • Not wearing a head cap while going out.
  • Don’t step out in the sun in the afternoon during summer.
  • Always wear lightweight and comfortable clothes in summer.
  • Drink lots of fluids and water.
  • Have a cool bath once or twice a day if you’re living in a very hot region.
  • If you have to go out in the afternoon due to an emergency then please cover your head with a cap and your ears with cotton balls or a handkerchief.
  • Use sunscreen while going out under the sun.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from direct sunlight.
  • Stay in cool places with air conditioning and coolers.
  • Include fluids like buttermilk, fresh homemade juices, sugarcane juice, coconut water, sabza seeds, and barley water in your diet.
My personal story
I have a 3-year-old handsome son. He is very healthy, hyperactive, and very very sensitive. We live in Hyderabad and my in-laws live in a town named Guntur located in Andhra Pradesh. For every special occasion like marriages, functions, and Eid we go to our in-law’s home to celebrate together. This year our Eid was in the month of May. This is the month when summers start and in Guntur due to beaches all around, there is very high humidity and the sun is very very hot. We thought since this is just the start of summer there won’t be any heat waves. We planned our journey for Eid to Guntur and had a tiring journey on the train. The one mistake that we did is we went out shopping with our kid at 11 am in the morning the next day.  My baby was just wearing a head cap. We were out there for half an hour. 20 minutes in a mall and only 5 to 10 minutes on-road walking and riding on a bike. At that time the temperature was hot and we all were sweating. We came back to our in-law’s home after shopping and were very tired. But my son was still happy and playing around. He wasn’t tired at all. We had lunch, and dinner and went to sleep at night.
At the time of 3 am in the morning, my son suddenly woke up coughing and vomited all the food that he ate last night. I was shocked because he had never done this before. I changed his clothes and washed his face and tried to put him back to sleep. He slept but his body’s temperature was rising slowly. He got a fever and I gave him paracetamol. His forehead was very hot. I thought it is a normal fever and will go away on its own the next day. The next morning I gave him a very simple breakfast as he had a fever. He vomited as soon as he ate. After 20 minutes of vomiting, I again gave him some fruits. He vomited that too after a few minutes. He did the same after lunch and evening snacks. We all got worried now because his stomach had nothing inside. Now he became very weak and was always lying in bed or on my shoulder. He didn’t have any strength. We went to a local doctor nearby. He told me it was due to heatstroke and gave me antibiotics, paracetamol, and vomiting medicine. But my son’s illness was getting even worse after medication. He was still vomiting and feeling very weak. I didn’t celebrate my Eid that day as my son was not well. Tears were rolling down my eyes for seeing him in this position. He was such a brave and healthy boy. He loves to eat whatever I give him. But now he refused juices, chocolates, and cakes too.
On the third day, we had already booked our journey to our home in Hyderabad. But after seeing my son’s condition many people told me not to go. But I wanted to go because there are much better doctors that I know in Hyderabad and treatment will become easy when we are at our home. So we went by train again. On our journey too, he was vomiting and sleeping. We called our pediatrician and booked an appointment. After reaching Hyderabad, we went straight to the hospital from the train station. The doctor was shocked to see my son like that. He told me he needs to be admitted immediately for one day as his body is very weak. So he was admitted to the hospital and given glucose and antibiotics for one whole day. He was only on glucose and antibiotics the whole day without any food. The doctor told us we can give him fresh fruits, coconut water, ors, and buttermilk if he wants to eat. But my baby was in no mood to eat. He just drank a few sips of coconut water. The next day his fever was all gone and he gained some strength and started having some fruits by himself. The doctor saw his condition and told him that he can be discharged now. We felt very happy and thanked the doctor. Even after discharge, the doctor told me to give him antibiotics for 3 more days to cure him completely.
I never knew heat stroke was such a dangerous thing until my son suffered from it. Those 5 days went all in tears, pain, and tiredness. But my son was a strong boy. He handled everything smoothly. He suffered only because of our mistake. I still regret it. One thing that I learned from all this is to have patience and make your child feel comfortable. Don’t force him to eat or drink, let him eat whatever he wants and whenever he wants. Children are a very delicate gift. They have to be handled and looked after very carefully.

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