Dehydration is a process in which the body loses water rapidly and there is no water replacement.
What Causes Dehydration?
Under normal conditions, we all lose body water daily through sweat, tears, urine and stool. In a healthy person, this water is replaced by drinking fluids and eating foods that contains water. When a person becomes so sick with fever, diarrhea or vomiting or if an individual is overexposed to the sun, dehydration occurs. This is caused when the body loses water content and essential body salts such as sodium, potassium, calcium bicarbonate and phosphate.
In children, additional symptoms may include:
- dry mouth and tongue
- no tears when crying
- no wet diapers for more than three hours
- sunken abdomen, eyes or cheeks
- high fever
- skin that does not flatten when pinched and released
Treatment for Dehydration
If detected early, dehydration can often be treated at home under a physician's guidance. In children, directions for giving food and fluids will differ according to the cause of the dehydration, so it is important to consult your pediatrician.
- Take precautionary measures to avoid the harmful effects of dehydration, including:
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially when working or playing in the sun.
- Make sure you are taking in more fluid than you are losing.
- Try to schedule physical outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
- Drink appropriate sports drinks to help maintain electrolyte balance.
- For infants and young children, solutions like Pedialyte will help maintain electrolyte balance during illness or heat exposure. Do not try to make fluid and salt solutions at home for children.