Night sweats in children are not as rare as you may think. There are three basic categories of causes. If your child is experiencing night sweats, you should neither become alarmed nor dismiss the symptoms. Instead, you should investigate the reason for this problem.
It is common for children of all ages to experience night sweats solely due to environmental causes. The room where he is sleeping may be too hot or humid, resulting in excess perspiration and discomfort. You may be providing too much bedding, which can also result in night sweats. If his nightclothes are too heavy, or made of a non-porous material, his body can become overheated. If your child is bothered by night sweats, checking these factors to see if any are relevant is the first step.
A second cause of night sweats is infection. When an infection is present in the body, the body overworks itself to try to rid itself of the infection. This can result in excessive sweating. Although the range and severity of infections vary, it is still important to consult your pediatrician if you believe that any kind of infection is present in your child’s body. All infections in young children need to be treated by a doctor. Otherwise it could worsen, and possibly lead to more serious complications.
Many parents make the mistake of overdressing a youngster when he is ill. From the common cold to the ear problems which many children experience in their early years, the theory is that the warmer he is, the sooner he will get well. Unfortunately, this has the opposite effect. He will feel even worse when night sweats accompany the illness. His pores need to be able to “breathe,” even when he is ill. Lightweight pajamas or a gown are the most healthy and comfortable alternatives.
While serious medical conditions are the least common cause of night sweats in children, this does not mean that you can afford to dismiss the possibility. If there is no environmental cause for his night sweats, and he does not have a minor illness, he should be checked by his pediatrician. Medical conditions which can have the symptom of night sweats include sleep apnea, leukemia and other forms of cancer, diabetes, and others. Although these conditions are not common, only your doctor can make the final determination regarding whether or not a serious medical condition is present.
Night sweats can range from annoying to frightening, for both you and your child. In most cases, resolving the problem requires nothing more than making him more comfortable for sleeping. However, if this does not help, a visit to your pediatrician is recommended. While the odds are against a serious medical condition being the cause, it is better to knowledgeable about your child’s health. This way, your worries can be reduced, treatment can be started if there is a medical problem, and you and your child both will be able to enjoy restful sleep if it is a minor problem which can be easily corrected.