Symptoms and treatment of heat stroke in a child


Heat stroke is especially dangerous for young children and the elderly. They overheat and hypothermia develop much faster. However, not all parents know how to identify the problem. After reading this article, you will learn what are the symptoms and treatment of heat stroke in a child.

What it is?

The term "heat stroke" refers to a condition that has resulted from excessive overheating of the whole organism and the brain in particular. In this case, the body loses the ability to maintain its own normal temperature. The lack of adequate thermoregulation leads to a variety of disorders, many of which pose a serious danger to the child.

Hyperthermia (overheating) causes a disturbance of the organs and systems.

In childhood, the center of thermoregulation, which is located in the brain, is not yet mature enough; it is difficult for the kid to cope with the high temperature. This age feature complicates his condition when overheating. If a child has chronic diseases, congenital pathologies, then heat stroke is a mortal danger.

You should not assume that only sun damage is a heat stroke, which children can get if they are too long under the open rays of the sun. Heat stroke can be obtained in cloudy weather, and not only outside, but also under the roof - for example, in the bath, in the sauna.

The reasons

There are only two reasons for the development of heat stroke:

  • exposure to high temperatures from the outside;
  • the inability to quickly adapt and compensate for excessive overheating.

The likelihood of such a state is affected by a lot - The child's age (than the crumb is younger than the blow is more likely), the preliminary intake of medications (antibiotics, immunostimulants or immunosuppressants, as well as hormonal drugs), the tendency to allergies, and even hypersensitivity to weather changes, which, by the way, is observed in most babies.

The most harmful thermal effects affect children with diabetes, heart and vascular diseases, including congenital malformations, children suffering from bronchial asthma, babies with mental illnesses and diseases of the nervous system, very thin children and overweight toddlers, and also on children with hepatitis.

The most dangerous age in terms of the development of a strong heat stroke is 1-2-3 years.

Among the additional negative factors that in every possible way contribute to the occurrence of pathology are closed clothing, which creates a greenhouse effect, increased air humidity, and dehydration in a child. Heat stroke is particularly dangerous, which occurs when a confluence of several unfavorable circumstances occurs - for example, a young child, whom his parents took to rest in an exotic country, since. By age, complex biological processes of acclimatization are added. In combination with the heat, the effect will not take long to wait, and such a baby may well be in reanimation.

Many parents still confuse solar and thermal shocks. Having supplied the child with a panama and an umbrella from the sun, they believe that it is safe from overheating. Such a peanut is really fenced off from sunstroke, but it is quite possible for it to receive heat both in the panama and in the shade under an umbrella - if it stays in the heat for too long.

The thermoregulation center is located in the intermediate section of the brain. When overheating, a “malfunction” arises in his work, and the body cannot effectively and quickly get rid of excess heat. Usually this physiological process proceeds with sweating. In response to the heat, the center of thermoregulation sends a signal to the sweat glands of the skin, they begin to actively produce sweat. Sweat evaporates from the skin and cools the body.

With a heat stroke, the child's brain signal about the need for sweat production is delayed, sweat is not sufficiently produced, and children's sweat ducts are narrow due to age, which also makes it difficult to sweat (in the right amount and at the right speed).

Now imagine that with all this, the child is dressed in synthetic clothing that makes evaporation difficult and does not consume enough liquid. Too humid air (for example, in the tropics or in the bath) does not contribute to evaporation at all. Sweat is released, flowing streams, but there is no relief, the body is not cooled.

The cause of heat stroke may be increased physical activity in the heat - outdoor games on the beach, for example. Children with fair skin and blue eyes suffer the hardest heatstroke. They overheat faster and release excess heat more slowly.

Critical temperature is considered to be temperature above 30 degrees Celsius, for newborns - above 25 degrees Celsius.

Symptoms and signs

There are four clinical forms of heat stroke:

  • Asfix. All symptoms are associated with impaired respiratory function, up to the development of respiratory failure.
  • Hyperthermic. In this form, there is a high temperature, the thermometer rises above 39.5-41.0 degrees.
  • Cerebral. In this form of heat stroke, various disorders of the child’s nervous activity are observed - delusions, convulsions, tics, and so on.
  • Gastroenteric. Manifestations of this form are usually limited to gastrointestinal disorders - vomiting, diarrhea.

You can recognize the characteristic signs of general hyperthermia in a child by the following symptoms:

  • Redness of the skin. If, when exposed to the sun's rays, the erythema zone is limited to the zone of impact, then with a general heat stroke, the erythema is continuous - absolutely all skin reddens.
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath. Such symptoms develop with any type of general temperature lesion. Frequent shortness of breath in this case - the body attempts to cool through the lungs.
  • General weakness, apathy. The child looks tired, sleepy, he seeks to lie down, ceases to show interest in what is happening.
  • Nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are more characteristic of the gastroenteric form, but other types of heat stroke may accompany.
  • Dizziness. It can be insignificant, and can be expressed quite brightly, up to episodes of loss of balance.
  • Hallucinations Visual hallucinations accompany almost all types of heat stroke. Usually they appear in the subjective perception of non-existent points in front of the eyes, the so-called flies. In response, small children may begin to wave their arms, trying to “drive off” them.
  • Rapid and weak pulse. It exceeds normal values ​​by about one and a half times, it is felt with difficulty.
  • Dry skin. To the touch the skin becomes more rough, dry and hot.
  • Cramps and muscle pain. Cramps can cover only limbs, and can be extended to the whole body. More often the convulsive syndrome has the character of trembling of hands and feet.
  • Disturbed sleep and appetite. Both parameters can be violated to a certain extent, it can go as far as the child completely giving up food, water and sleep.
  • Incontinence. Inability to control urination and defecation is manifested only in severe heat stroke associated with loss of consciousness.

If symptoms are characteristic of hyperthermia, parents should assess the severity of the condition.

In mild form, the baby’s skin always remains moist. There is a complex of symptoms: headache, fever, lethargy, nausea and shortness of breath, as well as increased heart rate. But there is no loss of consciousness, there are no neurological manifestations.

With moderate severity, the temperature is high, the baby moves little and reluctantly, there may be short-term episodes of loss of consciousness. Headache is increasing, symptoms of intoxication appear - vomiting and diarrhea (or one thing). The skin is red and hot.

With a severe course, the child is delirious, loses consciousness, experiences convulsions, speech can be confused, there are hallucinations. The temperature is at 41.0, sometimes it reaches 42.0 degrees. The skin is red, dry and very hot.

To distinguish heat stroke from the sun can be on the totality of clinical signs. After excessive exposure to the sun, only severe headache and nausea are observed, the temperature rarely rises to 39.5 degrees.

Danger and consequences

Thermal damage to the child is dangerous in the first place the state of dehydration. With a strong heat, fever and manifestation of the gag reflex, it occurs very quickly. The younger the peanut, the more rapidly it loses moisture reserves. This is a deadly condition.

High heat during heat stroke can provoke an attack of febrile seizures and other neurological disorders in a child. The most dangerous are severe degrees of impact, with predictions that are rather dubious.

Light degrees of heat stroke usually do without consequences or with minimal consequences. Moderate and severe can lead to the development of renal failure, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, as well as long-term effects, which are mainly expressed by serious neurological disorders. Sometimes they stay with the child for life.

Severe overheating of the brain can cause a wide range of disorders in all organs and systems.

First Emergency

If a child has signs of heat stroke, an ambulance team should be called in as soon as possible. While doctors are on call, the task of the parents is to render emergency assistance correctly. The main direction - cooling the body. And the main thing is not to overdo it.

The algorithm of action is as follows:

  • The child is placed in the shade, put in a cool room, securely sheltered from sunlight. If the blow happened after the bath, they are taken out into the street.
  • All tight and tight clothing is removed. Unfasten pants, remove the belts.
  • The child should be laid on his back, if there is no nausea, or on his side, if there is nausea and vomiting. The feet of the baby are slightly raised, placing a towel or any other object folded under the roller.
  • Cold compresses are applied to the forehead, back of the head, hands, and feet. Suitable pieces of cloth, towels, moistened with cold water. However, under no circumstances should ice be used, since excessive cooling may cause collapse of the vessels.
  • Open all windows if the child is in the room so that there is no shortage of fresh air.
  • While waiting for the doctor, you can pour cool water over the body (the temperature of the liquid is from 18 to 20 degrees, no less). If it is possible to fill the bath with water of such a temperature, it is worthwhile to do this and immerse the child in water, leaving only the head above the surface of the water.
  • In attacks of unconsciousness, the child is given a smell of ammonia.
  • When convulsions do not hold the body of the child, do not straighten the reduced muscles, it is fraught with fractures. You can not unclench your teeth and shove an iron spoon into the baby’s mouth - you can break your teeth, debris which can get into the respiratory tract.
  • In all cases (with the exception of loss of consciousness and convulsions), the child is given an abundant warm drink. After fainting, they also give sweet, weak tea.Giving a strong tea to a child is prohibited, as it may adversely affect the heart activity.
  • In the absence of breathing and heartbeat, emergency artificial respiration is performed and an indirect heart massage is performed.
  • You should not give the child any medicine before the arrival of the medical team. In the presence of convulsions and episodes of unconsciousness, it is imperative to record the time of the onset and end of the attacks, in order to communicate this information to the doctor who arrived.


With a mild heat stroke, the child will stay at home for treatment.

Moderate and severe conditions require hospitalization.

The first medical assistance, of course, will have on the spot. If necessary, the child will be given a heart massage, artificial respiration will be administered, and preparations will be introduced to normalize cardiac activity. But all the rest will be done by the doctors of the children's hospital.

Usually intensive rehydration therapy is performed on the first day. A large amount of saline is infused intravenously with the minerals necessary for normal functioning of the heart and nervous system. When the risk of dehydration recedes, the child is examined by all specialists, first of all by the cardiologist, neurologist, and pediatrician. If pathologies caused by hyperthermia are detected, appropriate treatment will be prescribed.

Heat after heat stroke usually lasts for several days. All this time, the child is recommended to take paracetamol-based antipyretic drugs.

Treat at home a mild degree of heat stroke should be given these same requirements. To reduce the temperature, if it rises to high values, to give the child solutions for oral rehydration - “Smecta”, “Regidron».

When the first signs of dehydration appear, one should not hesitate with hospitalization, since removing a child from such a condition at home is not a task for the faint of heart. Attempts to do this on your own can end very badly.

At home, babies can be wrapped several times a day with a damp, cool diaper; for an older child, you can provide a cool bath or shower. A big mistake of parents is to turn on the fans or air conditioning during wet wrapping. Very often, this "treatment" ends with the development of pneumonia.

During home treatment, it is important to give the child as much liquid as possible; all food should be light, quickly absorbed. Feed the child only when it asks for it. It is better to give preference to vegetable soups with lean broth, jelly, fruit drinks, non-butter cereal, fruit and vegetable salads.

Diets should be followed to the complete disappearance of all symptoms and the normalization of the gastrointestinal tract.


To protect the child from heat stroke will help the prudence of parents and their observance of simple safety rules:

  • If you plan to rest on the beach, long walks in the hot season, you should take care that the child has clothes made of natural fabrics, in which the baby’s skin can “breathe” freely and evaporate sweat. It is best to give preference to light-colored clothing, since it reflects sunlight and reduces the likelihood of overheating.
  • When you are on the beach, on a walk, in the bath, the head of the child should always be covered with a light Panama or a special bath hat.
  • You should not walk for a long time or sunbathe after 11 am and until 4 pm Before and after this time you can sunbathe and walk, but with restrictions. A child (especially a newborn or infant) should not be in the open sun even in the “safe” hours.
  • If the child is small, then it is better to refuse active beach activities (trampoline, banana rides, beach ball games).
  • Parents who do not see anything terrible in joint rest with babies on the beach should remember that the kid should in no way spend his lunchtime sleep there, even if he lies under an umbrella in the shade.This increases the probability of thermal shock tenfold.
  • In the hot season, as well as when visiting a bath or sauna, be sure to give your child to drink plenty of fluids. Carbonated drinks are not suitable for this purpose. It is better to use boiled and pre-cooled compote, fruit drink, ordinary drinking water.
  • Never leave a child in a closed car in a parking lot near a store or other establishments in the hot season. At a temperature of about 25 degrees, the interior of the car overheats in 15 minutes. At the same time, the temperature inside the cabin is much higher than that of the thermometer outside. Very often, such stories end with the death of babies.
  • It is not necessary to feed the child densely and plentifully in the heat. Moreover, you should avoid fatty foods. Better during the day to give light fruits and vegetables, spicy soups.

A solid meal is better to postpone until the evening when it becomes cool. You should not take the child for a walk immediately after a meal. If it's hot outside, then you can go for a walk only an hour and a half after lunch or breakfast.

How to protect the child from heatstroke, will tell Dr. Komarovsky in the next video.

Information provided for reference purposes. Do not self-medicate. At the first symptoms of the disease, consult a doctor.