What You Must Know About Infant Apnea

Apnea is no Respecter of Age

Apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition that transcends all ages. Granddads and newly born babies alike are susceptible to this condition. It is argued that temporary pauses in breathing or apnea are normal and should be no cause for alarm, but numerous cases prove otherwise.

While it is true that apnea is normal, this does not mean that it should be left unattended. Doing so will cause the condition to worsen. Treatment should be made as soon as the condition is detected.

Infant apnea is more complex than it is for adults. The symptoms are harder to detect in infants, therefore proper treatments are more likely to be delayed. When this happens, the condition builds up and endangers the infant.

Infant Apnea

The normal span of breathing pauses in infants lasts from 10-20 seconds. While it might be horrifying to think that your baby repeatedly stops breathing for a couple of seconds while he sleeps, medical experts claim this to be natural. Accordingly, when infant apnea lasts more than 20 seconds, it is the time you should be worried.

But studies have been made to refute this claim. According to the findings of some researchers, the frequent absence of oxygen in the brain can cause irreparable brain damage. Infant apnea is also connected to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

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Types of Infant Apnea

There are two general categories of infant apnea – Apnea of Infancy and Apnea of Prematurity. Apnea of Infancy is a term reserved for children suffering from apnea who are under a year old and were born after 9 months of pregnancy (full-term). Apnea of Prematurity occurs in infants who were born before 9 months of pregnancy (premature).

Infant apnea may also be central, obstructive, or mixed. Central apnea is characterized by a pause in breathing due to the failure of the respiratory center. Obstructive apnea is a cessation of breathing caused by blockage of the airway by enlarged adenoids or tonsils. Mixed apnea is a rare condition in infants. It is a combination of obstructive and central apnea.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

Infant apnea symptoms recognized in Apnea of Infancy and Apnea of Prematurity include:

1. Noisy breathing (gasping sounds) during sleep

2. Restless sleeping

3. Snoring

4. Changes in skin color

5. Sudden awakening and irritability or uncontrollable crying

6. Unusual sleeping positions

7. Unreasonable sleep patterns

apnea, snore, sleep

What to Do

The following are the few steps you can take to relieve infant apnea symptoms and encourage better airflow:

1. Position the infant on his side during sleep.

2. Use pillows to prop the baby up.

3. Never leave a bottle or a pacifier for the baby to sleep with.

4. Place a humidifier in the room. This will reduce blockage.

5. Create and follow a strict sleep routine.

6. Keep a journal to log in sleeping patterns of the infant. Show this to your doctor.

Be sure to consult a doctor if you have any concerns about your child’s condition. He may recommend other infant apnea solutions such as surgery to remove the tonsils or adenoids if the situation calls for it.

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