Dehydration In Children - 9 Causes & 9 Treatments You Should Be Aware Of


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Loss of fluid or sweating is common when a child spends a day outside or in a sweltering room for long. Your child must take fluids more than the usual days in these circumstances to avoid getting dehydrated. If your child does get dehydrated, it means that his body does not have enough fluid. Dehydration mainly occurs after fever, vomiting, diarrhea or excessive sweating. Small children and infants are less likely to get dehydrated like the older kids and adults.

Causes Of Dehydration In Children:

It is very important to correct dehydration at the right time before it gets severe and turns to be life threatening. Other causes of dehydration are:

  1. Your child might get dehydrated due to plenty of reasons, but the most common reason may be due to extended exposure to heat without access to water.
  2. Viral infection results in dehydration. Diarrhea, fever results in vomiting that reduces the ability to drink.
  3. Winter vomiting disease or rotavirus causes vomiting that results in dehydr
    ation in many cases.
  4. Sore mouth caused by virus at times makes it difficult for children to eat or drink. These conditions even worsen dehydration.
  5. Bacterial infection brings down appetite and thirst that leads to dehydration.
  6. E Coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter are some of the common bacterial infections in children.
  7. Giardia lamblia or giardiasis is a parasitic infection that also leads to dehydration in some cases.
  8. Too much of sweating results in loss of water from body and leads to dehydration.
  9. Too much of urination due to diabetes can be another cause.

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How To Check For Dehydration In Children?

It is a matter of concern if your child starts losing fluid from body due to diarrhea or vomiting. Here are some dehydration symptoms in children to watch out for::

  • Sticky or dry mucous membrane
  • Sunken eyes
  • No tears even if he is crying
  • Decrease in urination
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Spot on a child’s head called fontanelle

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Treatment For Dehydration In Children:

Vomiting and diarrhea are the common causes behind dehydration. Your main aim would be to prevent the loss of fluid and make up for the loss by offering fluids. The process is known as fluid replacement.

  1. You need to make sure your child takes lots of fluids, especially when it is very hot outside. Here are some of the vital tips you can follow to prevent dehydration:
  2. ORS or oral rehydration solutions help maintaining the perfect balance of minerals, salt and sugar. Make sure to check the dosage instructions before offering your child.
  3. Offer few sips every minute. Even if your child vomits out the oral solution, most of it goes inside.
  4. There is no need to stop breastfeeding through the phase of illness.You can also continue with bottle feeding during sickness.
  5. Do not offer carbonated soda drinks as they are very bad for health and teeth.
  6. Rather than giving juices, you can offer him diluted water. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests you should limit intake of juice to 6 ounce daily until the age of 7.
  7. For children above 7 years, the juice intake can be increased to 12 ounces every day.
  8. Make sure your child takes plenty of fluids when he has fever. If he has trouble swallowing you can offer ibuprofen or children’s acetaminophen to ease the discomfort.
  9. A child loses lots of fluid if he has diarrhea and is vomiting repeatedly. Fruit juices will only make matters worse.

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When To Call A Doctor?

You need to look for the symptoms stated below and call the doctor if you find one or more of these:

  • No urine for the last 6 hours.
  • Dryness in mouth.
  • Sunken eyes.
  • Vomiting for over 24 hours and the color is consistently green.
  • Has fever more than 103 degree Celsius.
  • Pain in abdomen.
  • Blood in stool.
  • If your child seems too weak.

As a base rule, offering adequate fluid by drip or through mouth helps your child recover completely. Seek emergency services if you feel things are going out of control. Make sure you are not trying any over-the-counter medicines without advice from the doctors. Take care! Have you faced similar situation with your child? Do share your experiences with us.

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