Heat cramps are defined as cramps that occur in children from the age of 6 months to 5 years with a high temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius. It is stipulated that there should be no inflammation of the nervous system, such as meningitis, and no other diseases associated with convulsions such as epilepsy, and no previous convulsions without a high temperature.

These cramps usually occur on the first day of illness and are usually accompanied by a sudden rise in temperature.

What are the types of heat cramps?

1. Minor cramps

It is the most famous and most common type, and it is of the type of generalized spasms. During a convulsive attack, the child loses consciousness and contractions occur in the face with stiffness and trembling in the hands and feet, and then the child feels tired and drowsy. A convulsive episode usually lasts only a few minutes but can last up to 15 minutes, and the seizures don’t recur within 24 hours.

2. Complex spasms

This term is used if the spasms last longer than 15 minutes, if the mild fit recurs within 24 hours of the first attack, or if the fit is of a focal type, after which the child may feel temporary weakness in his hands and feet.

What is the treatment for heat cramps?

In the event of these convulsions, you must go to the doctor immediately to ensure that the convulsions stop, and until the child’s condition is evaluated.

After the seizure stops and the child’s temperature is lowered, the doctor begins to take the medical history and conduct a clinical examination to find out the cause of the high temperature, especially to make sure that there are no signs of inflammation of the brain membranes (meningitis), and also determine whether there is a need to do laboratory tests, and determine the necessary treatment.

If the seizure stops spontaneously within a few minutes and there are no risk factors, the child does not necessarily need to be hospitalized, and the doctor does not usually use long-term anticonvulsant drugs.

Is there a specific temperature at which these cramps occur?

No, these cramps may occur at any temperature above 38 degrees Celsius, even if the heat cramps are repeated for the same child, they may occur at different temperatures. But usually these cramps occur when the temperature rises suddenly. 

What is the probability of recurring heat cramps?

The occurrence of heat cramps in a child increases the possibility of it happening again, but it is not necessary that heat cramps occur every time that child’s temperature rises.

The possibility of recurring heat cramps increases in the following cases:

  1. At ages less than 15 months.
  2. Having a family history of heat cramps or epilepsy.
  3. A short period of time between the onset of a high temperature and convulsions.
  4. Heat cramps occur at a slightly elevated temperature.

How can recurrences of heat cramps be prevented?

general, long-term antispasmodics are not prescribed in cases of heat cramps because the side effects of these drugs are more dangerous than recurring heat cramps. But in some cases, the doctor may prefer to use these medications because there are factors that increase the risk of recurring heat cramps or the complications resulting from them.

The use of antipyretic to prevent high temperature (for example, if there is a runny nose and there is no high temperature) does not necessarily reduce the possibility of heat cramps.

What do I do if a heat convulsion occurs at home?

  1. Keep the child away from any source of danger.
  2. Put the child in a side sleeping position to keep the airway open.
  3. Do not try to stop the spasms or put anything in the child’s mouth.
  4. Determining when the attack began because attacks that last more than 5 minutes need immediate intervention and treatment.
  5. For children who are prone to recurring episodes of heat convulsions, parents should be taught how to use an anticonvulsant at home before arriving at the emergency center.
  • Note: Raising the child’s temperature is usually beneficial to increase the body’s ability to resist microbes;