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If your child is complaining of painful cramps in the muscles, fatigue, headaches, vomiting after being out in the hot sun throughout the day, it could be a sign that he is falling prey to the heat syndrome. There is a lot that we can do apart from keeping them well hydrated to combat the heat illness in our children.
Our bodies are maintained at a consistent core temperature of 37 degree Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Regulation and maintaining this constant core body temperature is known as thermoregulation.
A small part of our brain called the hypothalamus senses the external temperatures and aptly responds to the rising or the lowering of the external temperatures. When our body is being exposed to very hot external temperatures, its core temperature eventually rises. This activates the hypothalamus to signal the sebaceous glands in the skin to release more sweat. This aids in releasing heat and lowering our core body temperature to normal.
Due to certain reasons, little children are at a higher risk for illnesses due to heat, as compared to the other population.
Heat illnesses in children comprise a spectrum of symptoms:
• More often, the first symptoms are the child feels tired; asks for more water. Dryness of lips, mouth and tongue could kick in as a result of dehydration.
• Few children being exposed to hot sun develop painful cramps beginning in calves, thighs, shoulders or abdomen. It could be a sure indication of electrolyte imbalance due to heat.
• Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, weakness could ensue in children who are exposed to heat for prolonged periods.
• Few little children can also come up with loose motions and digestion problems.
• An emergency situation could be nothing less than a heat stroke. The temperature remains very high, may be with disorientation, or seizures, or with difficulty in breathing. It can even result in unconsciousness and coma.
When the subtle signs of dehydration are neglected, it starts affecting the other systems of the body, eventually compromising the functioning of the vital organs.
The above symptoms could be more common if the children are very young, as compared to the elder kids. Most children, being busy in their own worlds, wave off the thirst signal and end up drinking little water than what is required by their body. As more and more water and electrolytes are lost in sweat, and not enough liquids and salts are taken to compensate for the loss; dehydration and cramps ensue.
We aim at curbing the symptoms at the onset itself, without letting it progress into a cascade of complications. Keeping the child hydrated and keeping in check the exposure to direct heat keeps the symptoms from surfacing.
In Homoeopathy, we do have good medicines like Aconite, when the child develops gastrointestinal complaints from exposure to very hot weather. High fever with muscles pains can be taken care of by remedies like Gelsemium. Medicines like Belladonna, Glonoine, Natrum carb would come to aid where children complain of severe headaches after sun exposure. Ipecac, Bryonia alba are other good remedies for respiratory and gastrointestinal complaints coming on in hot summers. Podophyllum, Aloes, Chamomilla, Antim crud are our best friends in gastrointestinal complaints ensuing from heat exposure.
Symptoms arising from summer heat very well yield to homeopathic remedies, thus preventing further progress of the symptom syndrome.