Acclimatization in children is a natural adaptive process that occurs in all children with a sharp change in living conditions. The condition is characterized by a variety of symptoms: capriciousness and tearfulness, difficulty falling asleep, an increase in body temperature to subfebrile figures. Digestive disorders, respiratory symptoms, allergic reactions are often noted. Acclimatization treatment includes non-drug measures to observe physical activity and daily routine during the rest period. Less often, symptomatic agents are prescribed – antipyretic, antidiarrheal, antihistamines.
Z60 Problems related to adaptation to lifestyle changes
Acclimatization in children occurs when traveling to the sea or to other places of recreation where the climate and / or time zone differ from the usual living conditions of the child. The adaptation process includes unpleasant symptoms that are not dangerous to life and health, but can spoil the rest, especially if the trip is short-term (up to 10 days). Sometimes, against the background of acclimatization, poisoning or other diseases occur in children, which complicates the diagnosis and treatment of a pathological condition.
The intensity of the manifestations of acclimatization in children is due to the imperfection of the mechanisms of adaptation and thermoregulation, insufficient development of immunity, more complex and prolonged habituation to new living conditions. Among the risk factors are early childhood (up to 3 years), the presence of a history of frequent respiratory diseases, chronic pathologies of internal organs or congenital diseases. The appearance of symptoms of acclimatization is caused by:
- Climate change. Children suffer the worst from subtropical conditions, when high air temperature is combined with high humidity. When traveling to countries and regions with a temperate climate, the uncomfortable symptoms of acclimatization are less pronounced and addiction occurs faster.
- Time zone change. Pediatricians claim that switching the arrows for more than 2 hours negatively affects the condition of children and knocks down the usual regime. After returning home, you have to rearrange your daily routine again. Interestingly, the child adapts faster to trips to the east (with the clock moving forward).
- Unusual loads. Prolonged bathing in cool sea water, insolation and long walks – all this causes severe fatigue in children. Loads aggravate the symptoms of acclimatization and lengthen the period of adaptation.
- Changes in diet. An important factor is the use of new unusual products, which is usually observed when settling in all-inclusive hotels, where there is no opportunity to cook food for a small child on their own. Exotic fruits are particularly dangerous, which can provoke allergies.
Signs of acclimatization develop immediately after arrival in a new area or after 12-24 hours. The condition manifests itself in various symptoms, so parents cannot always adequately assess them and are often mistaken for a respiratory disease or intestinal infection. One of the first symptoms of acclimatization is a change in mood or behavior. Children become irritable, tearful, restless, some of them develop apathy and drowsiness.
Dyspeptic disorders are common symptoms of acclimatization. A decrease or lack of appetite, unwillingness to eat even favorite dishes are likely. Nausea is characteristic, there may be one or two vomiting. Among the typical signs, stool disorders are distinguished by the type of diarrhea, but sometimes a change in the climatic zone provokes constipation. An older child may complain of abdominal pain and discomfort.
As a rule, in the first days of the trip there is an increase in temperature to 37-37.5 ° C. Subfebrility is accompanied by weakness, capriciousness, general malaise. The child looks sleepy, and when changing time zones, on the contrary, there are difficulties with falling asleep, night sleep is intermittent with frequent awakenings. These signs may be supplemented by nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and other respiratory phenomena.
The duration of acclimatization in a child is from 2-3 days to 1 week. In often and long-term ill children with weakened immunity, addiction lasts up to 10 days. Symptoms reach their maximum intensity in the first few days after arrival, and then gradually decrease as the child’s body adapts to the changed climatic conditions.
After returning from the trip, the children begin the reverse process – reaclimatization. In a few weeks, the body gets used to other conditions, so after returning home, you need to go through an adaptation period again. Often it proceeds much easier: the symptoms are limited to a slight lethargy and capriciousness, after the change of time zones there are sleep disorders: usually the child falls asleep more difficult, sleeps restlessly, wakes up at night.
To confirm acclimatization, it is enough to identify specific symptoms. Special examination of the child is not required. Laboratory and instrumental diagnostic methods are sometimes used for possible intestinal infection or other disease that has similar symptoms. In this case, you need to take a blood test, urine and feces, according to the indications, do an ultrasound or radiography.
To reduce the symptoms of acclimatization in children, parents need to strictly adhere to the daily routine and diet that was before the trip. It is unacceptable to drastically change the frequency of meals, put the children to bed too late, etc. Water and food are of great importance, so for the first time on a trip it is advisable to take products familiar to the child, especially for children under 3 years of age.
In most cases, the rest takes place in a hot climate, so you should have a bottle of water with you. Small children need to be watered regularly (every 30-40 minutes) at least one sip at a time to prevent dehydration. On the first day of the trip, the child needs to buy and cook dishes that he has tried at home. In the absence of dyspeptic symptoms of acclimatization, the diet is gradually expanded, adding no more than 1 new vegetable or fruit daily.
When resting on the seashore, you can not immediately take the child to the beach and spend the whole day there. Pediatricians recommend taking a walk along the coast and around the city for the first 1-2 days to give an opportunity to get used to a different climate. Only after the acute symptoms of acclimatization disappear, sea bathing and sunbathing are allowed. For small children, it is optimal to stay on the beach until 10 am and after 5 pm.
Medical treatment is carried out after consultation with a pediatrician. Going on vacation, you need to agree in advance on ways to communicate with your doctor so that you can communicate online. There are no specific means for the treatment of acclimatization, symptomatic drugs are used. They improve well-being, eliminate unpleasant manifestations, so the child will be able to adapt to a new place faster and easier.
The drugs are selected based on what symptoms are found in the child. If the body temperature rises above 38 ° C, antipyretics are prescribed. To eliminate dyspeptic disorders, enterosorbents, antidiarrheal drugs are given, if necessary, they supplement treatment with intestinal antiseptics or antibacterial agents. If the symptoms of acclimatization are accompanied by allergic reactions, antihistamines are indicated.
Prognosis and prevention
If you follow the recommendations of pediatricians when planning a trip and during your stay on vacation, acclimatization will take place without serious consequences. To reduce the likelihood of unpleasant symptoms, you need to prepare in advance. Prevention includes careful hardening of children for 1-2 months so that they get used to the sun and water of different temperatures. If the rest is in a different time zone, a week before departure, they begin to shift the sleep and nutrition regime.
It is necessary to carefully approach the choice of a vacation destination for a trip with a child. For a short vacation (no longer than 7-10 days), it is advisable to go to the resorts of your country or regions with identical climatic conditions. If you plan a 2-3-week trip, you can think about exotic countries. It is advisable to spend short weekends in the country or in suburban complexes that are no more than 2-3 hours away from home.