Dehydration (lack of fluids) in children

Symptoms include thirst, lack of exercise, dry lips/mouth and less need to urinate.

Severe dehydration can be life threatening.

The treatment is the administration of fluids and electrolytes by mouth or, in severe cases, by vein (intravenously).


Dehydration is usually caused by

A less common cause of dehydration is

Drinking too few fluids, z. B. during one of the common childhood illnesses or if a newborn has trouble breastfeeding Breast milk is the best food for newborns. Although babies can be fed breast milk or infant formula, doctors recommend that feeding the baby for the first 6 months of life. Learn more

But not every situation in which the child vomits or has diarrhea is due to dehydration.


Dehydrated infants need immediate medical attention if

The soft spots between the bones of the skull have sunk in.

their eyes are sunken.

They do not have tears when they cry.

Their mouth is dry.

They pass little urine.

They seem apathetic and move less (are lethargic).

A mild dehydration usually results in dry mouth and lips and more thirst and less frequent urination.

In the event of moderate dehydration Children seek fewer exchanges and play less, have a dry mouth, and rarely need to urinate. Moderate and severe dehydration can cause rapid heartbeat and drowsiness.

In the case of Severe dehydration children may become sleepy or lethargic, a sign that they need to be seen by a doctor or taken to the emergency room immediately. You do not cry tears. Your skin may turn bluish (cyanosis Cyanosis is a bluish discoloration of the skin due to a lack of oxygen in the blood. Cyanosis occurs when oxygen-depleted blood that looks bluish rather than red flows through the skin. Learn more ) and their breathing may accelerate. Sometimes dehydration causes blood salt levels to drop or increase abnormally. The change in salt concentration can cause dehydration symptoms to worsen and make the listlessness worse. If dehydration is severe, the child may have seizures Seizures in children Seizures are periodic disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain that cause some degree of temporary brain dysfunction. When older infants or. Learn more get or go into a coma Stupor and coma Stupor is a state of rigidity from which a person can be roused only by vigorous physical stimulation. Coma is a state of apathy from which a person cannot be. Learn more fall or suffer brain damage and die.


Examined by a doctor

Sometimes blood and urine tests

The doctor examines the child and determines if he or she has lost weight. If a child has lost weight in just a few days, it is most likely due to dehydration. If it is known how much weight the child has lost, the doctor can determine if the dehydration is mild, moderate or severe.

For children with moderate to severe dehydration, doctors usually do blood and urine tests to determine how much electrolytes are left in the body, how much dehydration there is, and how much fluid needs to be replaced.


Supply of missing fluid

Dehydration is treated by giving fluids and electrolytes such as sodium and chloride. If the dehydration is mild, fluids are usually given by mouth. Special oral rehydration solutions are available, but are not always necessary if children have had mild vomiting or diarrhea. Dehydrated children who vomit frequently are best given fluids in small sips every 10 minutes at the beginning. Once the child retains fluids without vomiting, the amount of fluids can be slowly increased and the interval between intervals increased. If diarrhea is the only symptom, larger amounts of fluids can be given at longer intervals. If children have both vomiting and diarrhea, they receive fluids with electrolytes in frequent small sips. If diarrhea worsens as a result of this treatment, children may need to be hospitalized so that fluids can be administered through a vein (intravenously).

Infants or young children who cannot keep fluids down or who become listless or show other serious signs of dehydration may require intensive care, where fluids and electrolyte solutions are administered as intravenous infusions or. administered through a thin plastic tube (a nasogastric tube) that is inserted through the nose and throat into the stomach or. is passed through the small intestine.


As a countermeasure, electrolyte-containing fluid is given to very young children. Breast milk contains the necessary fluid with the right electrolyte composition that an infant needs, and is the best treatment option when possible. Children who are not breastfed should receive an oral rehydration solution (ORS). ORs contains a special mixture of sugars and electrolytes. ORS can be purchased without a prescription in powder or liquid form mixed with water, or as premixed liquid preparations at drugstores or pharmacies. The amount of ORS a child should consume in a 24-hour period depends on the child’s age and weight. As a rough guideline, however, 100 to 165 ml of fluid per kilogram of body weight. Therefore, a child weighing 10 kg should be given 1 over 24 hours.000 to 1.Drink 650 ml.

Older children

Children older than 1 year can be given small sips of clear soup or broth, clear sodas, gelatin, and juices diluted halay with water or water ice. Water, undiluted juices or sports drinks are not suitable at any age to counteract dehydration, as the salt content of water is too low or. Fruit juices have a high sugar content and ingredients that can irritate the digestive tract. ORS are an alternative, especially for moderately severe dehydration. If the child can keep the fluid with him or her within 12 to 24 hours, he or she can resume eating normally.

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