Recently if you’ve noticed that your child seems extremely tired and looks pale all the time, he may be suffering from fatigue. This can be a debilitating disorder as the child may feel lethargic all the time and lose the inclination to go about his daily activities.
Mummy, don’t wake me up, let me sleep a bit longer. I’m very tired and don’t feel like going to school… Sounds familiar? If your child doesn’t want to wake up in the morning and go to school or has lost interest in studies and other activities, he may not have become lazy as you think. Chances are that he may be tired and suffering from fatigue.
Fatigue can be classified into two types – physical and mental fatigue. Physical fatigue is also defined as lack of energy or strength and is triggered due to muscle weakness. The affected individual tends to suffer from weakness and seems exhausted, most of the time. On the other hand, mental fatigue is referred to as being drowsy all the time. This condition is known as somnolence and the person tends to feel sleepy and is unable to concentrate on any task. Due to an unhealthy lifestyle, almost everyone suffers from fatigue, both mental as well as physical.
Nowadays even children are being affected by fatigue. Lack of proper nutrients in the diet, consumption of junk food and no exercise can lead to a child feeling lethargic. Some other reasons that can cause fatigue in children are improper sleep cycle, stress or psychological problems, inactivity, etc. If this condition is not diagnosed in time, it can lead to severe or chronic fatigue syndrome. Let’s see more about this disorder along with its causes, symptoms and treatment options.
Causes of Fatigue in Children
Owing to different activities, starting from going to school, playing, completing assignments and homework, a child tends to get tired. This phase can affect children from time to time, especially in their growing years. But if your child is overwhelmingly tired even after getting adequate rest, then he may be fatigued. This may also be an indication of some underlying health issue.
- Anemia: One of the main reasons for fatigue is anemia. Children who are anemic often complain of being tired due to lack of iron in the blood. As there is a reduction in the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain due to anemia, children are easily fatigued.
- Lack of Exercise: A child may show inactivity or experience tiredness due to lack of proper exercise.
- Lack of Proper Nutrition: Inadequate or improper nutrition is another reason for a child feeling low in energy. Children are more addicted to junk food like French fries, burgers and pizzas that make them ignore proper home cooked food. Eating fast food does not provide the required nutrients thus, leading to intense tiredness. It can also make the child obese.
- Stress: Contrary to the popular belief that only adults suffer from depression, children also get stressed due to a number of reasons. Stress and depression are also major factors resulting in lethargy in children.
Symptoms of General Fatigue
Fatigue is a condition where the person feels exhausted due to lack of energy. It is a sign that the body exhibits indicating need for rest. Children may suffer from general fatigue due to poor sleep, overexertion, lack of exercise and boredom, etc. The following symptoms will help you identify if your child is suffering from fatigue.
- Disinterested and fidgety behavior
- Loss of concentration in studies
- Sleepy and lethargic during the day
- Complaining about frequent headaches
- Feeling irritated and showing signs of depression
- Disinterested in outdoor activities
Indications of Chronic Fatigue
Usually only adults are diagnosed to be suffering from chronic fatigue, but these days it has been found out that even children and adolescents suffer from this health issue. In this condition, the individual tends to feel intensely tired and feels least inclination to do any work. A child suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) will show the following indications.
- Feeling tired even after sleeping
- Trouble in concentrating on daily activities
- Complaining of headache
- Sore throat accompanied by fever
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain and weakness
- Dark circles or puffy eyes
Extreme Fatigue Signs
Extreme fatigue is different from chronic fatigue as extreme fatigue may be an onset for chronic fatigue syndrome. The individual may suffer from intense tiredness even after adequate rest. Given below are some symptoms that can be observed in a child suffering from extreme or severe fatigue.
- Becoming extremely moody
- Weakness in the muscles
- Fainting spells and a feeling of nausea
- Shortness of breath and complaining of pain in the chest
- Fever and frequent cough
- Bloodshot and droopy eyes
- Sleeping frequently
Becoming extremely tired can be a very debilitating condition for the child. A few changes in the lifestyle can correct this disorder. Here are some ways with which you can help your child regain energy.
- Make your child eat breakfast regularly. You can include cereals, milk or oats in their breakfast to ensure a healthy body.
- Giving supplements like iron and vitamin capsules
- Giving them fruits and fruit juices or protein shakes
- Controlling junk food
- If the child does not show any improvement then you can consult a pediatrician
The symptoms may resolve on their own, with proper diet, exercise and rest. However, if this condition is accompanied by unexplained and sudden weight loss, fever and pain, then it is advisable to seek prompt medical intervention. In order to avoid fatigue in children, give them a balanced diet and make them exercise regularly. If you find your child feeling listless or languid, then consult a pediatrician, who may diagnose the exact reason and provide appropriate treatment.