Dehydration

baby_closeupIf a child loses fluids rapidly, perhaps due to diarrhea, vomiting or heat exhaustion, dehydration and loss of nutrients can be the result.

If your child has diarrhea, has been vomiting or has a fever, you can take steps to prevent dehydration.  Offer frequent sips of water or ice chips to suck on. Build up to 1 oz. of water an hour, then 2 oz. an hour, until the child is able to drink normally.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Signs your child may be mild/moderately dehydrated:

  • plays less than usual
  • urinates less often (for infants, this means fewer than six wet diapers per day)
  • dry mouth
  • fewer tears
  • in infants and toddlers, a sunken soft spot on the head
  • loose stools if dehydration is due to diarrhea; if due to vomiting or lack of fluid intake, then decreased bowel movements

Severe dehydration can include other symptoms in addition to the ones listed above such as extreme fussiness; excessive sleepiness; sunken eyes; cool and discolored hands and feet; wrinkled skin; only urinating one or two times per day.

Treating Dehydration

Mild to moderate dehydration can often be treated with an electrolyte solution, or for nursing moms, through increased breastfeeding sessions.  Severe dehydration may require a trip to the hospital for intravenous fluids.

If you think your child is dehydrated, please call us immediately so that we may assess him and recommend treatment.

For more information about dehydration, visit healthychildren.org