Dehydration In Children: Identifying It And Treating It

Dehydration can occur very quickly in children, especially those who are losing fluids due to illness. Sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea are just a few symptoms that can zap your child of essential fluids. Your child may also become dehydrated by not taking in enough fluids. When your child is dehydrated, their cells cannot function normally, and you will notice symptoms of dehydration. All children who are dehydrated need special treatment. However, symptoms can range from mild to severe. Mild cases can be treated at home while severe cases may require emergency care. 

Identifying Dehydration in Children

Children who are dehydrated exhibit a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. The severity of your child's dehydration will determine your treatment course, so it's very important that you can tell if your child is mildly dehydrated or facing a medical emergency. Signs of mild dehydration include dark urine, fatigue, dry mouth, dry eyes, crankiness, mild vomiting, decreased tears, and sticky mucous membranes. Signs of severe dehydration include no urination, weakness and dizziness, difficulty concentrating, loss of consciousness, lethargy, no tears, dry mucous membranes, and sunken eyes. 

Treating Mild Dehydration

You may not need immediate medical attention if your child is only slightly dehydrated. However, you may want to call their doctor and alert them. Mild dehydration can turn severe in a very short amount of time. Therefore, it's important to begin treatment immediately. To treat mild dehydration, get as many fluids in your child as you can. Give your child small sips of fluid every few minutes. Oral rehydration solutions that replace potassium, salt, and sugar are ideal. Feed your child soup, ice chips, ice treats, and cereal. Other foods that provide fluids include mashed potatoes, strained bananas, and applesauce. 

Treating Moderate to Severe Dehydration

If your child exhibits signs of severe dehydration or if they are mildly dehydrated but unable to keep anything on their stomachs, they need medical attention. Take your child to your family doctor, urgent care, or an emergency room. They may need medication to stop vomiting and/or IV fluids. If your child passes out, becomes unresponsive, or is dazed and confused, call 911. 

Dehydration can progress very quickly in children. For this reason, it's vital that you learn to recognize it and treat it. If you can rehydrate your child when they are only mildly dehydrated, you can save yourself and your child a lot of pain and time at the hospital. For more information, contact medical professionals, like those at Ada Pediatrics PA.