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Dehydration in Children

Dehydration is a health condition in which body lacks sufficient water that is necessary to carry out vital activities. This condition is more common among children and elder. It is due to fact that young children lose fluid more quickly than other. Some of common reasons for dehydration in children are low fluid in take, frequent urination, vomiting, diarrhea and combination of these conditions.

Under the normal conditions, we all lose some body water every day in our sweat, tears, urine, and stool. Water also evaporates from our skin and leaves body as vapor when we breathe. We usually replace this body fluid and salts it contains with the water and salts in our regular diet.

Dehydration in Children: Causes and Symptoms-

1) The most common cause of dehydration among children is viral infections that lead to high fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

2) Some other causes of dehydration include the bacterial and parasitic infection, which can lead to nausea, vomiting and fluid loss.

3) Many times, painful mouth sores caused by infection worsen dehydration due to difficulty in consumption of food and drink. In rare cases, excess sweating due to high temperature condition may also lead to dehydration in children.

4) The early signs of dehydration in children are increased thirst, restlessness, irritability, decreased urine output and dry mouth. In babies, fontanel appears sunken due to lack of fluid in body.

5) As condition progresses, child may manifest severe symptoms such as reduced pulse rate, blue skin coloration, abdominal pain, bloody stool, sunken eye, crying without tears, no urine output in four hours and weight loss.

·Based on statistics-

1) Dehydration is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical examination and medical history of child.

2) In order to identify any underlying diseases that can cause dehydration, physician may conduct laboratory tests such as blood count, blood culture, blood chemistry, and ECG, urinalysis and stool analysis. At times, chest X-ray is taken to evaluate presence of rotavirus.

3) The treatment for dehydration is based on age of the child, cause of dehydration and severity of condition. For immediate relief, child should be given clear liquid, electrolyte solution or other oral dehydration drink.

4) If sore mouth is the cause of dehydration, then treatment may include easing pain by the administration of over-the-counter pain killers. Dehydration in babies and toddler is usually treated with administration of intravenous fluids.

5) In case of a child suffering from fever, light clothing and sponge bath is recommended to lower body temperature. Timely diagnosis of dehydration in children is necessary to avoid severe health complication such as organ failure and at times, death.

6) One thumb rule to prevent dehydration is to compensate loss of fluid during vomiting and diarrhea by consuming clear liquids or other energy drinks. The amount of fluid intake should be more than loss fluid, and then only dehydration can be prevented. To be on safer side, it is always advisable to take proper care of kid's health and seek medical attention in case of frequent vomiting, very high fever and increased urination.




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