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Dehydration can be fatal and must be taken seriously.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn't have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions.  If you don't replace lost fluids, you may get dehydrated.

Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe based on how much of the body's fluid is lost or not replenished.  When it is severe, dehydration is a life-threatening emergency.  Common causes of dehydration include:

  • intense diarrhea

  • vomiting

  • fever

  • excessive sweating (usually from exercising or being in hot conditions  for long periods)

  • excessive urine output (uncontrolled diabetes). 

  • Not drinking enough water during hot weather or exercise also may cause dehydration.

Anyone may become dehydrated, but young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk.  

You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment. The safest approach is prevention of dehydration. Monitor your fluid loss during hot weather, illness or exercise, and drink enough liquids to replace what you lose.

Dehydration in sick children is often a combination of refusing to eat or drink anything and losing fluid from vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.  Infants and children are more likely to become dehydrated than adults because they weigh less and their bodies turn over water and electrolytes more quickly. 


  • ​Low or no urine output; urine looks dark yellow

  • Dry or sticky mouth

  • Lethargy or coma (with severe dehydration)

  • No tears

  • Sunken eyes

  • Sunken fontanelles (the soft spot on the top of the head) in an infant

  • You may also have vomiting, diarrhea, or the feeling that you "can't keep anything down." All of these can be causing the dehydration.

Dehydration and Children

Anytime children or adolescents play sports or exercise in hot weather, they're at risk of dehydrated.

Your child might be particularly vulnerable to dehydration if he or she:

  • Wears clothing or protective gear that contributes to excessive heat retention

  • Rarely exercises

  • Is overweight or obese

  • Is sick or had a recent illness, especially involving diarrhea, vomiting or a fever

  • Is taking certain supplements or medications, such as cold medicine

  • Has had a previous heat-related illness

  • Has a chronic condition, such as diabetes

  • Isn't well rested


If your child is an athlete or play out doors for long periods make sure that he/she drinks plenty of fluids before practice and during regular breaks — even if they aren't thirsty.

Make sure clothing is light-colored, lightweight and loose fitting, or exposes as much of the skin as possible.


Decrease or stop practice or competitions if necessary.  It is important that they know when to get out of the heat.

Diarrhea And Vomiting

Diarrhea and vomiting is usually referred to as gastroenteritis and these symptoms are usually caused by a virus.  Vomiting and Diarrhea can also be the signs of other illnesses and should not be ignored.

Diarrhea kills children by draining liquid from the body, which dehydrates the child.  As soon as diarrhea starts, it is essential to give the child extra fluids along with regular foods and fluids.  A child has diarrhea when she or he passes three or more watery stools a day. The more numerous the watery stools, the more dangerous the diarrhea.

Some people think that drinking liquids makes diarrhea worse. This is not true. A child with diarrhea should be given drinks, including breast milk, as often as possible. Drinking lots of liquids helps to replace the fluids lost during diarrhea.

Recommended drinks for a child with diarrhea include:

  • breast milk (mothers should breastfeed more often than usual)

  • soups

  • fresh fruit juices

  • coconut water

  • clean water

  • The child may first have a fever and some vomiting before the diarrhea starts.  The symptoms usually go away in a day or two but can last for as long as a week.

One of the dangers of vomiting and diarrhea is your child’s body can become dehydrated by water loss.  If the child is younger than 6 months and the condition is accompanied by fever, blood in the stool, green vomit or vomiting for more than

12 hours or diarrhea for longer than 2 days seek medical help.

What To Do For Vomiting
Give the child sips of clear fluid every 10 to 15 minutes.  If the child keeps vomiting, wait for about an hour or two and try again.  If the child is still throwing up, seek medical help.  If the child is keeping down the fluids and wants to eat, try small amounts of simple foods like bread, pasta, boiled or baked potatoes, cooked vegetables.

What To Do For Diarrhea
If your child is acting well and is still eating and drinking and urinating, there may not be caused for concern but it is a good idea to have him/her checked by a doctor.

The doctor may suggest changing the child’s diet for a few days and electrolyte drinks may be recommended.

In severe cases of diarrhea seek medical help immediately

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