Children are more prone to dehydration than adults because their water reserves are smaller. Also, they tend not to drink fluids sufficiently. With toddlers, dehydration is even common because of constant physical activities or fevers. Dehydration is almost inevitable because fluids are always leaving the body through tears, sweat, breathing and urine. Inadequacy of fluid in the body can prevent the body from functioning properly, sometimes; it is so severe that it could lead to a brain damage or death. A lot of times, dehydration may be as result of a viral infection that will naturally run its course. You may be unable to prevent your toddler from catching a virus, which mostly causes dehydration, but you can recognize the signs.
Always look out for the early warning signs of dehydration in your toddler so that you can initiate preventive measures.
Some of the signs are:
- Dry or cracked lips and mouth
- No urination or a dark-colored smelly urine when it comes.
- Dry skin
- Constant sleepiness
- Sunken eyes
- Low level of energy
- Vomiting for a long time
- Very little or no tears when crying
- Constant fussiness or irritability
- Fast breath or an increase heart rate
- Cold feet and hands
- Sunken eyes
- Stickiness on the lining of the mouth or tongue
- Blood in the stool
- Severe abdominal pain
It’s important for parents to know these warning signs of dehydration, which are usually as a result of certain risk factors. Once your toddler is at a risk of any of the following factors and already manifests one or two of the above named warning signs, they are dehydrated.
Risk factors of dehydration are:
- Stomach flu
- Overheating and excessive sweating
- Low level of fluid intake when ill
- Sores in the mouth, making it difficult to eat or drink
- Infections- Parasitic, bacterial or viral
- Excessive urination
- Poorly treated diabetes
- Cystic fibrosis, which prevents food absorption
Treatment for dehydration
Give your toddler an oral rehydration solution that contains water, salt, sugar and minerals such as Pedialyte or Rehydralyte. In the absence of this, you can also give your toddler some milk or cold liquids. Too many times, increasing your child’s fluid level is all they need to be restored and get well again.
Administer fluids in small amounts if your toddler is vomiting, so that they can keep it down. Large or very frequent intake of fluid can cause vomiting again.
Your toddler may not eat or drink because of sores in the mouth or throat. Give the child some medication to ease the pain and then offer them fluids to restore their fluid level.
You may administer acetaminophen to your toddler if you feel it’s becoming severe.
Limit solid food intake for at least 24 hours
Take your toddler to a doctor if there is no improvement especially if you notice blood in the toddlers stool or a persistent diarrhea. Your child may need to take intravenous (IV) fluids to replenish fluid levels.