Dehydration in Children

Dehydration in Children

Having kids at home comes with many givens — the noise, the mess, the extra doses of love. Unfortunately, it also includes worrisome moments when your babies don’t feel well. While you will always move heaven and earth to make things better for them, if you’re not sure what’s making them feel off, the experience can be downright scary. Such can be the case with dehydration. What causes it? What are the symptoms? And, what can you do to prevent it from happening again in the future?

What is dehydration?

Dehydration occurs when a child loses more fluid than what they’re consuming. It can be extremely dangerous in children — especially younger ones — because they have smaller bodies, and therefore, a smaller amount of fluids on reserve. The condition should be treated as soon as possible, since every single organ in the body requires hydration to carry out its functions. It also reduces the amount of blood the body produces, resulting in a decrease in blood pressure. This puts additional strain on the heart, and in a worst-case scenario, could lead to shock, brain damage, and death.

What causes dehydration in children?

All children lose water daily through urine, defecation, sweat, and tears. However, it gets replaced through food and drinks. However, there are certain instances when a child loses more fluids than usual. These include:

  • More fussiness than usual
  • Crying with no tears
  • Dry lips
  • Dry skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Low energy
  • Dark urine
  • Fast breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Soft spot on top of the head in babies
  • Urinating less than usual
  • No wet diapers for 3 hours
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Increased thirst
  • Wants to be held a lot

Keep in mind that experiencing vomiting and diarrhea at the same time will cause a substantial loss of water in a short timeframe. And if your child has a fever, the higher their temperature, the more dehydrated they’ll become.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration in Children

The signs of dehydration may vary from child to child, depending on the severity of the fluid deficit. They also may show up gradually or suddenly. The most obvious ones include:

  • More fussiness than usual
  • Crying with no tears
  • Dry lips
  • Dry skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Low energy
  • Dark urine
  • Fast breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Soft spot on top of the head in babies
  • Urinating less than usual
  • Irritability
  • Increased thirst
  • Wants to be held a lot

When to See a Doctor

Take your child to their pediatrician if they have had diarrhea for 24 hours or more, have blood in their stool, can’t keep down fluids, are sleepy most of the time, and/or have become disoriented. Seeking medical attention can help avoid dehydration complications — such as developing kidney problems, seizures, and/or going into hypovolemic shock.

3 Tips for Keeping Your Child Hydrated

1. Keep Them Hydrated

How much water a child should drink depends on their age, gender, weather, and activity level. Generally, toddlers should be drinking up to four cups a day. Kids between four and eight years of age should increase their intake to five cups a day. If your child is nine to thirteen years of age, they should be drinking eight cups of water a day.

2. Replace Fluids if Already Dehydrated

Rehydrate your child with Pedialyte. Water alone won’t be enough, because when a child is dehydrated, they also lose salts and electrolytes. You can also provide them with Infalyte or sports drinks — just be mindful of the sugar contents.

3. Increase Hydration in Certain Circumstances

If your child is playing outside, is engaged in sports, or it’s particularly hot outdoors, increase their amount of hydration. Start the day before their increase in activity and monitor the color of their urine. Strenuous exercise and extreme heat and/or humidity raise their body temperature at a faster rate — causing them to sweat more and increase the risk of heatstroke.

Contact Sonas for Home Health Care in Florida

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of skilled professionals at Sonas Home Health Care is here to help.

Our home health care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.

If you or a loved one are considering Pediatric Home Health Care Services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Sonas Home Health Care. Call today at (888) 592-5855.

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