The Basics of Dehydration

The Basics of Dehydration

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In simple terms, dehydration occurs when the body lacks an adequate amount of water.
Dehydration is the result of insufficient water levels in the body.

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What Causes Dehydration?

Dehydration in children is commonly linked to vomiting, diarrhea, or the aversion to drinking caused by mouth sores or a sore throat. Heightened awareness is crucial, especially in hot weather or when children are energetically playing.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration?

Knowing the signs and symptoms of dehydration in children is essential for prompt intervention. Keep an eye out for a consistently dry or sticky mouth, limited tears during crying, and sunken eyes. In infants, check for a sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on the head. Reduced urine output leading to fewer wet diapers is a clear red flag. Additionally, watch for signs such as irritability, increased drowsiness, or bouts of dizziness, as they may indicate dehydration.

How Is Dehydration Treated?

Identifying and addressing hydration challenges in children involves recognizing common causes such as vomiting, diarrhea, or oral discomfort. Signs like a dry mouth, reduced tears, or sunken eyes indicate dehydration.

Managing mild cases at home includes providing extra liquids, with oral rehydration solutions like Pedialyte being effective. Severe cases necessitate urgent medical attention, emphasizing the need for tailored treatment strategies.

If your child has mild dehydration and your doctor says it’s OK to start treatment at home

Holistically addressing mild dehydration in your child at home involves providing small, frequent sips of oral rehydration solution (ORS). Administer 1–2 teaspoons every few minutes for infants and 1–2 tablespoons for older kids. While infants can continue breastfeeding or formula feeding, older children might benefit from electrolyte ice pops. Although your child may not feel like eating solid foods initially, encouraging regular eating is crucial. As their condition improves, transition from ORS to their typical diet. Avoid substituting plain water for ORS in infants and avoid offering sports drinks, soda, or undiluted juice, as they can worsen symptoms. Always consult with your doctor before administering any medications for diarrhea or vomiting.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Reach out to your healthcare provider if your child abstains from fluids for an extended time.

It's essential to contact your doctor if your child, aged under one, consumes oral rehydration solution exclusively and doesn't have breast milk or formula for a 24-hour period.

It's essential to consult your healthcare professional if your child refrains from eating any solid food for a consecutive 3–4 days.

It's recommended to contact your healthcare professional if your child shows signs of dehydration, like dry mouth, decreased urination, fewer tears, or a sunken soft spot.

It's recommended to contact your healthcare professional if your child appears cranky, fussy, or less active than usual.

How Can We Prevent Dehydration?

Dehydration can be a concern for parents, but smart strategies can make a significant difference. When your child is unwell, offer extra liquids or oral rehydration solutions. Administer small, frequent doses, especially if vomiting is a factor. This proactive approach aids in preventing dehydration, ensuring your child stays adequately hydrated during periods of illness.

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