Changes in skin color, especially blue lips, in a child can indicate it's time to get out of a swimming pool, but these changes can also indicate more serious health conditions. If you know what to look for, you can determine whether your son's blue lips are something to worry about or he just needs to warm up. Check with a doctor if your child's condition doesn't clear up in a short period.
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Prolonged Exposure to Cold
One of the most common causes of blue lips in children is prolonged exposure to cold, especially cold water. According to Kids Health, a child's body temperature drops quickly in water, especially in water colder than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If your son's lips turn blue while swimming, it's a sign his body is pulling blood away from his skin in order to keep his vital organs warm. Get him out of the water, dried off, and wrapped in a towel or blanket.
Another cause of blue lips in a 10-year-old boy could be an asthma attack. When the blood directly under skin doesn't get enough oxygen, skin turns blue. The effect is especially noticeable in body tissues that normally appear pink or red, such as the lips. An asthma attack severe enough to cause blue lips is a medical emergency. Teens Health recommends calling 911 or going to the emergency room. Even if your son doesn't have asthma, you should treat blue lips or skin accompanied by trouble breathing as an emergency.
Blue lips in a 10-year-old boy can also indicate a heart murmur. Heart murmurs occur due to abnormal blood flow within the heart. Blue lips can indicate a serious heart murmur that requires medical intervention. Other symptoms to watch for include unusual swelling or water retention, unusual sweating, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. All of these can also indicate other serious conditions. Seek medical help right away.
Blue lips in children can indicate croup, a serious repertory infection. According to American Family Physician, croup is a childhood illness that can afflict children from infancy to 12 years of age. Usual symptoms include low-grade fever, wheezing and a barking cough. More serious systems include a bluish tinge to the lips and fingernails, fast or irregular breathing, flaring nostrils and usual restlessness. As with all blue lips accompanied by trouble breathing, you should seek emergency medical care.