young boy drinks from garden house to prevent dehydration

CARE

Don't sweat it: Tips to spot symptoms of dehydration in kids

Summer is filled with opportunities for kids and teens to enjoy outdoor activities and sports. But when the weather is hot, it's extremely important to make sure kids are drinking enough water to prevent dehydration, which can be dangerous. If a person becomes dehydrated and cannot sweat enough to cool their body, his or her internal temperature may rise to dangerously high levels, causing heat stroke.

To help prevent your kids from becoming dangerously dehydrated this summer, watch for the below common signs of dehydration and follow these simple tips. 

Watch for these symptoms of dehydration

  • thirst, which is a late sign of dehydration
  • decreased urination
  • thick saliva 
  • fast heart rate
  • dry lips and mouth
  • fatigue
  • irritability and restlessness    
  • if your child is lethargic, cool to touch, confused or not thinking clearly, that's a sign of severe dehydration that requires immediate medical attention 

How to prevent dehydration

  • make sure your child drinks about 12-20 ounces of water before beginning outside activities
  • take a break every 15 minutes to drink more water, about eight ounces
  • wear light clothing
  • avoid the heat and stay inside when it's really hot and humid or try to play sports or spend time outside in the morning and evening when it's cooler 
  • steer clear of energy drinks and sodas as they have caffeine and are dehydrating
  • while drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated, if a child or teen is doing an extremely vigorous activity and sweating a lot then a sports drink such as Gatorade might be appropriate.    

Treatment for dehydration

Dehydration is treated by replenishing fluid in the body. Rehydrating can be done by consuming clear fluids such as:

  • water
  • clear broth
  • frozen water or ice pops
  • sports drinks

People who are dehydrated should avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and soda pop. People experiencing severe dehydration will require intravenous fluids in order to hydrate. If you are experiencing severe dehydration head immediately to urgent care or the closest emergency room.

By following these tips, I hope you and your family safely enjoy time outdoors this summer because all too soon we'll be talking about staying safe in cold weather!

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