We all lose some body water and salt every day. Children have higher metabolic rates and water percentage than adults. During physical activities, children’s body produces more heat and sweat less than adults. Thus, they are at a greater risk of infections that cause symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. This makes them more vulnerable to dehydration.
Dehydration occurs when there is a significant loss of body water as well as electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals within cells and bloodstreams that are vital for life. If it isn’t treated in time, it can become worse and life-threatening. If your child has lost large amounts of water and is at risk of dehydration, understand the causes, signs and how to take proper treatment to help prevent your child from becoming dehydrated.
What Causes Dehydration in Children?
Dehydration is caused when there are insufficient water and nutrients in the body. Infants have much smaller reserves of water in the body than adults. Therefore, newborns and young children with illnesses that rapidly deplete fluids like vomiting, diarrhea, or fever can become more easily dehydrated than adults.
The challenging condition that can put children at risk of dehydration is when it becomes hard to drink enough water. Children that are younger than a year, have trouble breastfeeding, had a low birth weight, show signs of malnutrition or have not been able to tolerate extra fluids have a greater likelihood of becoming dehydrated.
Know the Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration
Is your baby dehydrated? Dehydration in infants develop faster and even become life-threatening if not treated timely. It is important to recognize the following signs to give your dehydrated infant the proper medical attention.
- Mild Dehydration – It causes a slightly dry mouth and lips, increase thirst, less activity, and frequently produce darker and more concentrated urine.
- Moderate Dehydration – Less interactive, dry mouth and lips, dark and strong-smelling urine, inactivity, and irritability. Moderate dehydration also causes rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, and lightheadedness.
- Severe Dehydration – It typically causes rapid breathing, sunken eyes, cold hands and feet, unconsciousness, no urine, no tears, weight loss, and blotchy skin.
If your child suffers from the prolonged illness, fever, overheating, diarrhea or vomiting with several symptoms that cause dehydration, he or she may have severe dehydration. Get your infant evaluated by the best walk-in doctors of children’s urgent care clinic immediately.
Diagnosis & Treatment for Dehydration
If your child has symptoms that cause dehydration, it’s important to recognize early signs and to respond quickly by taking your child to pediatric urgent care clinic where walk-in doctors examine children and check if they have lost body weight. A significant loss in the body weight is likely to be caused by dehydration.
By examining the amount of weight loss, doctors can decide whether it is mild, moderate or severe dehydration. If the child is moderately or severely dehydrated, doctors generally perform urine and blood tests to measure electrolytes level in the body and the amount of water replacement required. Dehydration is treated to replace the lost fluids and restore body fluids to normal levels.
- Treating Mild & Moderate Dehydration
- Children with mild to moderate dehydration are generally given fluids by mouth. Special oral rehydration solutions (ORS) are available to help replenish vital nutrients and water. Although the World Health Organization recommends ORS as a first-line of treatment for the dehydrated child, they are not always essential for children who are suffering from mild diarrhea or vomiting.Start by giving your child small, frequent sips of fluids after every few minutes. If the child can keep the fluid down, you can gradually increase the amount of fluid and give in less frequent intervals. When your child is rehydrated, he or she may resume a normal diet. In infants, dehydration can be treated by breastfeeding them as breast milk contains all the fluids and nutrients required to restore adequate body water content.
- Treating Severe DehydrationIf your child is unable to take in any fluids or has severe dehydration, you need to take your child to the best walk-in urgent care clinic. The doctors provide more intensive treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes that are given by a thin plastic tube which is passed through the nose and reaches the stomach or small intestine.
How Do I Prevent Dehydration in Children?
Here are some helpful tips that can help your child stay hydrated.
- Know your child’s physical conditions by getting regular annual physicals from your family doctor.
- Make sure your child takes plenty of fluids, especially when he or she is physically active.
- Make your child wear lighter clothes for playing and exercising.
- Monitor your child closely during and after playing sessions.
If your child has an excess fluid loss due to vomiting or diarrhea and needs immediate medical attention for dehydration, visit Artisans of Medicine, the most reliable clinic for children’s urgent care in Bay Ridge. Our pediatric urgent care doctors will help your infant recover faster and stay protected from dehydration.