Usually, as parents are very worried when your little one’s body temperature increases. However, behind the increased body temperature in babies, we also have to be vigilant when the baby’s body temperature decreases. If baby’s body temperature decreased, it indicates the occurrence of Hypothermia in babies.
What is Hypothermia in babies?
Hypothermia is a condition where the body temperature is less than normal limits. In infants, normal body temperature is in the range of 36.6o-37o Celsius. If the baby’s body temperature is less than normal, it is said to have a fever. Conversely, if the baby’s body temperature is less than the normal limit, it indicates that the baby is hypothermic.
Hypothermia is a very dangerous disease and requires immediate treatment. Therefore, it is important for us to know the symptoms, causes and the first treatment we should take when a baby is hypothermic.
When a baby is cold, the first step we take is to check his body temperature using a thermometer. Babies will lose their natural body heat when they experience hypothermia. This causes the baby’s body temperature to drop drastically. The cause of your baby’s temperature dropping drastically is the direct touch of the baby’s body with cold elements, one of which is water.
If the baby’s body is in direct contact with cold water, the natural heat in the body will disappear. Not only water, cold air can also remove the baby’s body heat. When the baby interacts directly with cold air or strong winds, the gusts of wind quickly remove the warm air from the little one’s body.
Causes of Hypothermia in Infants
Before unwanted things happen, we must know what caused the situation. The following is a summary of the causes of hypothermia in babies:
Babies born prematurely or at less months will be susceptible to hypothermia. Premature babies are babies born at less than 28 weeks of gestation. Premature babies will certainly weigh less than 1500 grams. This situation can increase the risk of hypothermia.
This can occur because the baby lacks body fat, the nervous system has not yet matured and the body temperature cannot be controlled.
Hypoglycemia is a condition where there is little or no blood sugar in the body. Glucose or blood sugar is used by the body as energy. Babies who experience hypoglycemia at birth due to birth defects and lack of maternal health during pregnancy. Babies who experience hypoglycemia will be very susceptible to hypothermia.
Infection that occurs in babies can also cause hypothermia. Some serious infections in babies can lower the baby’s body temperature.
The process of evaporation or evaporation of amniotic fluid that occurs and sticks to the baby’s skin will cause the baby to get wet. While the fat in the baby’s body is still a little. This condition will cause the baby’s body heat to decrease and even quickly disappear.
Symptoms of Hypothermia in Infants
Hypothermia in infants can be categorized as a dangerous disease. Therefore we must know what the symptoms that may arise. Let’s look at the following summary.
- In babies older than one month, the initial symptoms that occur will be chills. However, in infants under one month of age it will be difficult to detect the initial symptoms.
- The baby’s skin will turn into reddish patches and mix with white. There will also be white spots all over the baby’s body.
- The baby will look silent, not give any reaction, even cry.
- The tips of the fingers and toes and the lip pads will look bluish.
- If you touch the baby’s body, especially the hands, soles of the feet, it will feel very cold. Take the baby’s temperature using a thermometer.
Treatment of Hypothermia in Infants
If hypothermia occurs in your baby, it should be treated quickly. If hypothermia occurs in newborns, doctors usually will handle the treatment in an incubator plus bright lighting. This is done to restore warm temperatures to the baby’s body.
Whereas for babies over one month, the first treatment can be done by taking the following steps:
- Wear thick clothes that cover the baby’s entire body. Cover the head using a thick blanket. Then put the baby on a warm mattress without any air entering.
- Place a lamp of approximately 60 watts near the crib. The distance used is approximately 1.5 meters from the baby’s body.
- Hug your baby warm.
- If the baby’s body temperature does not increase and continues to fall, immediately take your baby to the doctor for further treatment.
- If your baby’s condition worsens and even enters hypoglycemia, it is advisable that you breastfeed as often and as much as possible. This is done to help stabilize blood sugar and acid-base blood in your baby’s body.
The kangaroo method or commonly known as the Mothercare Kangaroo, is taken from the example of kangaroos caring for their children who are always born prematurely. The basic concept of this method is to transfer the body temperature that is in the mother to the baby. The benefit is done in this way to stabilize the baby’s body temperature, regulate breathing patterns and help stabilize the heart rate.
When doing this method, it is best if the baby is worn only by a diaper and a hat or head covering. The baby’s chest is left open so that it can make direct contact with the mother’s body. It is better if the clothes worn by the mother are also loose so that the baby and the carrier can enter.
If the kangaroo method is done correctly, 90% of the baby’s body heat will return in approximately three to four hours. The baby’s heat returns 60% when in an incubator for the same period. This proves that the kangaroo method is more effective than treatment in an incubator.
Don’t Allow Hypothermia in Babies
If hypothermia in babies occurs and is left for a long time, it will be dangerous. This can affect the function of other baby organs. These conditions have the potential for increased oxygen consumption, respiratory problems, decreased blood sugar levels, acid-base balance disorders, kidney failure, thus slowing the heart rate. If the heart is slow, the flow of blood and oxygen to the rest of the baby’s body will be disturbed.
The baby’s brai
n will experience slowdown which can reduce the coordination system between the baby’s organs and will lose reflexes. The baby is threatened with loss of movement in the pupil and is able to slow down the work on the retina of the eye. This will give the effect of the blurred vision of the baby.
If hypothermia is allowed any longer it will lead to death. In case of hypothermia you must always be vigilant and do not take it lightly. Immediately do the treatment as described when your baby experiences symptoms of hypothermia. If that doesn’t work, take your baby to the doctor immediately for further treatment.
Hope it is useful!