Children experience tiredness from time to time, especially during their developmental years when they have growth spurts. Generally a nap and some rest will help to cure fatigue. If your child has an overwhelming need to sleep even after adequate rest, it could become problematic. Extreme fatigue in a child could indicate an underlying medical problem. It is important to find the cause of your child’s fatigue so he can receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
There are several things that can cause extreme fatigue in children. Causes can include depression, cardiac or kidney disease, allergies, Epstein-Barr virus, anemia, unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, lack of sleep, viral infection and certain types of immune disorders. Fatigue can result from many illnesses so it can be hard to pinpoint a diagnosis. Many doctors make a broad diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also called CFS, if they are unable to find an underlying medical condition, explains the KidsHealth website. Narcolepsy is rare but serious condition that can cause extreme fatigue followed by sudden and uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep.
Fatigue occurs when the body responds to needing rest and sleep. A yawn and the feeling of wanting to slow down or close your eyes and take a nap prove the most common signs. MedlinePlus states that other common symptoms of extreme or chronic fatigue can include sore throat, joint pain, memory problems, lethargy, muscle pain and sometimes enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. If your child’s fatigue is ongoing and symptoms of extreme tiredness last 6 months or longer, she may be diagnosed with CFS.
When fatigue begins to disrupt your child’s lifestyle, education and quality of life, it becomes important to pinpoint why he is extremely tired. In rare cases, extreme fatigue combined with other symptoms such as weight loss, lack of appetite, nosebleeds, abnormal vision, lumps, headaches or pain could result due to certain types of childhood cancers such as leukemia. If your child is taking medications such as antidepressants, prescription pain medications, cough medicines and antihistamines, he may also experience fatigue and these symptoms should be immediately brought up to his pediatrician.
Treatment for extreme fatigue in your child can be challenging unless she has been diagnosed with a medical condition or disease. Her physician will prescribe and suggest the best possible treatment by addressing the disease first to help eliminate the symptoms of fatigue. It may be as simple as switching the dose on an allergy medicine or eliminating antihistamines from treatment, explains WomensHealth.gov. Resting and making sure she gets plenty of rest overnight is an important part of treatment. Although no cure, treatment for narcolepsy may include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or stimulants to keep your child awake during the day.
Being able to once again participate in sports or daily activities without feeling weary or tired is the desired outcome. Learning to have your child pace himself without physically overworking will help with having energy throughout the day. A balanced diet rich in whole grains and protein while avoiding excess sugar and processed food will help ward off extreme tiredness. Implementing up to 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise daily will help keep his heart healthy and give him energy to get through the day.