Recognize the symptoms of dehydration.
As the weather starts to warm up with the oncoming summer, the chance that your child may be affected by a heat-related malady increases. As any parent would, we want our kids to go outside and enjoy the good weather as much as they can, but we also need them to do so safely. One of the major risks a child may run into is dehydration. With all the excitement of the outdoors it can be an easy thing for a child to forget.
There many signs and symptoms of dehydration for the discerning parent to spot if they’re observant. Fortunately, many of them are none too subtle.
Dehydration is the condition in which the body lacks the amount of fluids necessary to keep functioning. Even minor dehydration can quickly result in reduced physical and mental activity, but it doesn’t take a lot for dehydration to cause more serious issues.
In general, there are different levels of dehydration depending on the level of fluid loss.
As conditions go, dehydration is initially not among the most serious. In most cases, all you need to do is to have your child drink more water. It’s when it’s left to worsen that it can really grow serious.
Be aware that it’s not just warm weather that will cause dehydration. Other ailments, such as diarrhea or vomiting, can also cause the child severe dehydration as they eject fluids from their system. In this case, you must make sure they are taking on, and keeping down, additional fluids to keep them going.
Symptoms of Dehydration
The most obvious sign of dehydration is thirst. If you notice your child gulping down more liquid than usual, take that as a sign that they’re a little dehydrated. Likewise, if a child says they’re thirsty, take them at their word and get them a drink. Another good symptom of dehydration is how often your kids need to pee – if they start peeing noticeably less frequently, then it’s a sign that they’re not getting enough fluids. A major warning sign is if they have few, or worse no, tears when crying. Infants who do not have wet diapers after three hours are also not drinking enough.
As dehydration continues, it’s common for the mouth to start to get dry too. If your child starts licking their lips, or they seem chapped and dry, they need to drink more. Dry skin suggests that this problem has been ongoing.
Your child will also be very good at letting you know when they’re starting to get dehydrated, as well, and you can use that as a very obvious indicator of when to take action. We’ve already mentioned that children will tell you when they’re thirsty. However other warning signs they’ll give you will also include headaches, tiredness and dizziness. Pay close attention if your child seems unusually distracted or unsteady on their feet. You should also never disbelieve your child if they complain about being sleepy or dizzy after playing in the sun.
Dehydration, fortunately, is very easy to treat once it has been spotted. If you think your child is suffering from dehydration, then take the following steps immediately in order to prevent any further damage.
• Take your child out of the sun at once
• Get your child a cool drink of water, or watered down fruit juice.
• Never give your thirsty child a soda or other carbonated beverage if they’re dehydrated.
• If your child is complaining of a headache, give them a sunhat too to prevent heatstroke.
• Have the child sit down until they feel better.
This should restore your child to their usual perky self in as little as an hour. After that, just make sure you child remembers to drink and stay out of the sun a little more frequently in the future and they should be fine.
If you notice the symptoms continue even after taking on additional fluids, or if your child is suffering from diarrhea and vomiting extensively through a twenty-four hours period, it is imperative that you contact the family pediatrician immediately. In these extreme cases, you may need to take your child to the hospital or nearby Night Lite Pediatric urgent care center.