Dehydration in Children and Adults: How to Recognize and What to Do

For children, dehydration can be fatal.

Dehydration symptoms

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more than 10% of water. This condition leads to the malfunctioning of organs and systems. With the fluid loss, the acid-base balance also changes. Dehydration can manifest itself in different ways in adults and children.

The main symptoms of dehydration in adults can be severe thirst, dry mouth, pale skin, cold sweat, swollen tongue, drowsiness, fever, and decreased urine volume.

Pregnant women and the elderly, as well as those suffering from chronic heart and kidney disease, have a hard time with dehydration. Vomiting and diarrhea aggravate the dehydration process.

Dehydration in children

Dehydration in children develops rapidly and can be life-threatening. If the following symptoms are present, an emergency ambulance should be called

  • extreme thirst
  • rapid or too slow breathing;
  • crying without tears
  • pale skin;
  • frequent urge to urinate;
  • weakness.

First aid for dehydration

If dehydration is suspected, call an ambulance. Before the arrival of the team, it is necessary to give the person an electrolyte solution (Regidron, Smecta).

Important: do not drink a lot of water at once, it can cause vomiting and is fraught with greater fluid loss. You can prepare an electrolyte solution at home. To do this, dissolve half a teaspoon of soda, the same amount of salt, and 4 tablespoons of sugar in a liter of water. The solution should be drunk frequently in small portions.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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