Arizona Heat Advisory. Watch Children for Signs of Dehydration.
With all the excessive heat warnings in Arizona, I felt it was important to remind everyone to watch for signs of dehydration, especially in children.
Dehydration happens when someone loses more fluid than taken in, and the total amount of water in body drops below the level need to function. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical attention. Dehydration can cause swelling in the brain, seizures, kidney failure, coma and death.
Signs of Dehydration
- Dry mouth
- Dark urine, decreased urine
- Fatigue, children that are less active
- No tears when crying
- Muscle weakness
- Headache, feeling dizzy, light headed or confused
Babies can become dehydrated quickly. Dehydration may be more difficult to recognize in babies, because they can not tell you they are thirsty. If a baby doesn’t produce tears they are probably dehydrated. Keep in mind that a dehydrated baby may be to weak to cry. If they have less than 6 wet diapers in 8 hours they may be dehydrated, if they haven’t had any wet diapers in 6 hours they are severely dehydrated and should be taken to the emergency room. Other signs of sever dehydration are sunken eyes, sunken fontanels ( soft spot). Avoid letting your baby get overheated and offer plenty of fluids, especially on a hot day. If you start to notice signs of mild dehydration you can give your baby an electrolyte liquid like Pedialyte. Be sure to discuss dehydration signs and treatments with your pediatrician.
Athletes need to be aware that the water requirements vary depending on the level of activity and environment. Physical activity in hot or humid weather will cause more sweating and water loss. It also takes time to become acclimated to the heat so for athletes starting practice in summer months it can take a few weeks to become acclimated to the heat. Try to avoid vigorous out door activity during the hottest part of the day.
Educate children of the signs and dangers of dehydration. Be sure to drink plenty of water before your thirsty, by the time you are thirsty you are already becoming dehydrated. If you are starting to notice signs of dehydration, rest and get out of the heat. Take in plenty of fluids including water and sports drinks with electrolytes. If symptoms are severe seek immediate medical attention.
Obviously, I am not a doctor so I recommend discussing dehydration signs and treatments with your doctor.
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