Altitude Sickness In Babies - Everything You Need To Know

Altitude Sickness In Babies

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Is your baby prone to vomiting when traveling to high-altitude places? Does your little one not eat and sleep well when traveling to high-altitude destinations? If yes then your baby might be suffering from altitude sickness. Read the article below to know more about this condition.

About Altitude Sickness:

Altitude sickness is a term given to a whole range of symptoms you may experience at high altitudes. It can occur when your body is not able to get the amount of oxygen it needs from the air. Anyone not used to high altitudes can experience symptoms of altitude sickness, which are headaches, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite etc. It usually occurs when you are at 8000 feet or higher. Anyone from adults to children can suffer from altitude sickness. [1]

Altitude sickness can be of three types depending on the symptoms:

1. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS):

Symptoms – headaches, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea and fatigue.

2. High-Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE):

Symptoms – all AMS symptoms, extreme lethargy, unbalanced gait, difficulty in walking and confusion.

3. High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE):

Symptoms – all AMS symptoms, exertion, breathlessness, cough and weakness.

AMS is the most common form of altitude sickness and most people at higher altitudes suffer from its symptoms. HACE and HAPE are rare and if not treated on time can be even fatal. [2]

[ Read: Loss Of Appetite In Babies ]

Altitude Sickness In Babies:

Children of all ages can suffer from altitude sickness. Even babies are susceptible to it. If your baby is not sleeping well when at higher altitudes, it may be a sign of altitude sickness. Look for other symptoms such as increased irritability, difficulty in breathing, loss of appetite, cough and vomiting. The symptoms of altitude sickness in babies can manifest immediately or after a few hours. Older babies may complain of dizziness, fatigue and other symptoms. But when it comes to babies, be mindful of the non-verbal signs.

Care For Babies Altitude Sickness:

  1. Keep your baby warm with appropriate clothing. Keep their hands and feet covered and head warm with a hat or blanket.
  1. Keep your baby hydrated with frequent sips of fresh water. Try to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby to see if his appetite is back to normal.
  1. If the symptoms are severe, then it is best to take your baby to an emergency room. If such services are not available at the time, plan your immediate descent to lower altitudes and seek urgent medical attention.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Headaches In Babies ]

Tips To Avoid Altitude Sickness In Babies:

Consider the following points for making it easy for you and your family when planning to travel to a high-altitude place.

  1. Whenever possible, avoid travelling to high-altitude places with babies especially with those under 3 months of age. At this age, their lungs are not sufficiently developed to handle the lack of oxygen at higher altitudes.
  1. Avoid traveling to high-altitude places if your baby recently suffered from infections, fever or respiratory problems.
  1. Cover the distance to higher altitudes with frequent breaks. Most often, symptoms of baby altitude sickness are avoidable if the ascent is slow. Plan your itinerary so that you can rest for a day or at least a few hours on your way up to higher altitudes.
  1. Consult your child’s doctor before planning your trip to a high-altitude destination. Carry on with your plans only if the doctor approves travel for your baby. Upon approval, request the doctor to prescribe emergency medicines for your baby such as paracetamol and rehydration solutions.
  1. If your baby’s symptoms worsen or he refuses to eat or drink at all, seek urgent medical attention for him.

[ Read: Tips To Follow While Travelling With Baby ]

Mild altitude sickness is nothing to worry about and its symptoms usually subside within a day or two. Still, be cautious of the symptoms that might make your baby sick during high-altitude travels and take appropriate action.

Did your baby ever suffered from altitude sickness? How did you handle the situation? Please share your ideas with us.

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