What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is a state in which a person loses so much body fluid that they are unable to carry out their typical activities. Vomiting, diarrhea, a fever, or not drinking enough water can all induce dehydration. A youngster who is very dehydrated might not be able to drink or eat properly to replenish body fluids. The child might need to visit the hospital in these circumstances.
Around the world, dehydration is a major factor in newborn and early childhood morbidity and mortality. Around 760,000 children globally suffer from diarrheal illness every year. The primary cause of dehydration in children is acute gastroenteritis.
In the United States, infectious diseases are typically the cause of acute gastroenteritis. Seventy-five to ninety percent of instances of infectious diarrhea are caused by viral infections, including rotavirus, norovirus, and enteroviruses. fewer than 20% of cases are brought on by bacterial infections. Escherichia coli, Shigella, and Salmonella are a few common bacterial culprits. Around 10% of bacterial illnesses are caused by Escherichia coli, which can cause diarrhea. Less than 5% of cases are caused by parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
As a result of dehydration, both the intracellular and extracellular fluid quantities of total body water decrease. Volume loss and the symptoms of dehydration are strongly related. Humans have two main compartments for the distribution of their total body water (TBW). The remaining third of TBW is split evenly between the interstitial space (75%) and plasma (25%), with the remaining third remaining in the intracellular compartment. Compared to adults, babies, and children have a higher total body water content. It accounts for 70% of the total weight in babies, compared to 65% and 60% in children and adults, respectively. Dehydration, as previously stated, is the overall loss of water relative to sodium, while volume depletion is the reduction in circulation volume. Acute blood loss and burns cause volume depletion, but sepsis and anaphylaxis cause distributive volume depletion. The line between dehydration from volume depletion is sometimes hazy in the literature.
What signs of dehydration should you look for in your kid?
The following are some warning indicators of dehydration in children:
- Dry lips and a tongue.
- tears that are not flowing, when crying.
- less than six wet diapers per day for newborns, and eight hours between wet diapers and urine for toddlers.
- Baby’s head has a recessed soft area.
- recessed eyes.
- wrinkled skin that is dry.
- fast, deep breathing.
- Hands and feet are cool and discolored.
What can you do at home to help your dehydrated toddler recover?
- Pay close attention to the doctor’s feeding recommendations.
- Unless specifically advised by your doctor, avoid giving over-the-counter diarrhea medications to children under the age of two.
- Encourage your child to consume unsweetened liquids because sweetened juices, sodas, and flavored gelatine can aggravate diarrhea.
- Normal breastfeeding should continue for newborns.
- When administered as prescribed by the doctor, electrolyte solutions may be beneficial.
- Increase your child’s intake of food and liquid gradually.
- Give your child (Tylenol®) acetaminophen if they have a fever. Do not give aspirin to your child.
- Give your child a lot of time to rest.
- Keep an eye out for dehydration symptoms that worsen or return.
What can you do to keep your child from being dehydrated?
Ensure that they consume cool water frequently and early. Send your kid out to play or practice while he is well-hydrated. Then, even if your child is not thirsty, make sure they take frequent breaks throughout the play to drink something. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends 5 ounces of cold tap water for a toddler weighing 88 pounds and 9 ounces for a teen weighing 132 pounds as an appropriate drink size. About two kid-sized gulps make up an ounce.
Prepare them for summer practice by getting them acclimated. If you are sending your kid off to tennis camp, they should not be sitting around doing anything in May and then going out to play tennis for eight hours a day in June. They should be exercising outside, jogging, biking, and gradually improving their health and capacity for heat tolerance. The sooner children’s bodies begin to sweat after beginning to exercise, the better, so the fitter they are!
Recognize that dehydration builds over time. If your child is 1% or 2% dehydrated on Monday and does not drink enough fluids that night, then becomes 1% or 2% dehydrated again on Tuesday, your child will be 3% or 4% dehydrated by the end of the day. They might be slowly developing an issue, but it will not become apparent for a few days. You must constantly keep an eye on your child’s hydration. Weighing your youngster before and after practice is one approach to achieving this. If their weight decreases, they are not getting enough fluids while exercising.
If your child’s urine is black in color rather than clear or light yellow, they may be dehydrating, according to a straightforward rule of thumb.
What are the treatments for heat sickness in children?
Get the youngster out of the sun and into a cool, comfortable environment as soon as possible if they are experiencing any type of heat illness. Encourage the child to begin consuming lots of cool liquids. Additionally, the youngster should remove any extra layers of clothing or heavy accessories. You can cover overheated skin with cool, damp towels. Gentle stretches to the affected muscle should relieve pain in cases of heat cramps.
Children who have heat exhaustion should receive the same care but should not be permitted to return to the pitch that day. Parents are advised to keep a closer eye on their kids. Consult a doctor if your child does not get better or is unable to take water.
Heat stroke is a serious emergency that needs to be treated right away.
Are some kids more prone to heat sickness or dehydration than others?
Yes. A history of dehydration or heat illness is one of the largest risk factors. Obesity, recent illness (particularly if the child has been vomiting or had diarrhea), and the use of antihistamines or diuretics might further increase your child’s risk for heat illness.
Young athletes are also susceptible to heat illness from inadequate acclimatization to hot temperatures and overexertion relative to their level of fitness. If a young player is not in shape and tries to go out and do things quickly to make the team or goes to summer practice or summer camp and has not been used to that kind of heat and humidity and duration of exercise that sets them up for dehydration and heat illness.
Can your youngster practice or play sports while it is too hot outside?
More and more athletic programs are claiming that it can occasionally be too hot to practice. In fact, when the National Weather Service’s heat index exceeds a particular level, many are prohibiting outside practice. When relative humidity is added to the actual temperature, the heat index, which is expressed in degrees Fahrenheit, provides a reliable indicator of how hot it feels.
What time should you call the doctor if your child is dehydrated?
If your child:
- has any of the earlier-mentioned indicators of dehydration.
- has increased diarrhea or vomiting.
- has not urinated or changed diapers in the last eight hours.
- sluggish (sleeps less and less playfully).
- Dehydration therapy at a hospital
In most situations, dehydration can be managed at home, but serious cases might necessitate hospitalization. hospital care could consist of:
- fluids that are given intravenously (IV).
- monitoring the imbalance of electrolytes.
- For fever, take paracetamol.
What to ask the doctor about dehydration in your child:
- Should I administer medicine to my child? If so, when during the day and for how long?
- How soon will my child feel better?
- Will my kid need to return for another appointment?
- Must I keep my child home from creche or school?
- Should I restrict my child’s participation in some activities? Which ones, if any?
- Do you have any recommendations for what my child should eat or drink?
- Which non-prescription painkillers do you suggest?
- Which over-the-counter medicines or treatments do not you advise using?
- What signs should I bring up with you/your office?
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