Dehydration is a serious condition especially in a young child. Dehydration means that the body doesn’t have enough fluid. It can come from many sources such as not drinking, vomiting, diarrhea or a combination of them. Sometimes sweating too much or urinating too much can cause dehydration also but this is not as likely to be the culprit in a young child. Small children dehydrate more quickly because they can loose fluid more quickly. Keeping a toddler hydrated is especially important because they have numerous developmental phases and goals that have to be met. The following will help you identify the causes of dehydration in your toddlers and small children so that you can protect them and keep them safe.
Causes of Dehydration
• Viral Infections-viral infections often cause fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and a decreased desire to drink and eat. If the virus causes sores in the mouth or cold sores on the face it will decrease the child’s ability and desire to eat and drink which will worsen the dehydration.
§ Rotavirus-causes vomiting and diarrhea.
§ Norwalk Virus-causes vomiting and diarrhea.
§ Adenovirus-causes vomiting and diarrhea.
• Bacterial Infections can cause dehydration also. Bacterial infections can cause a child to be less interested in food and cause them to vomit and have diarrhea.
§ Salmonella-causes vomit and diarrhea.
§ Escherichia Coli-causes vomit and diarrhea.
§ Camphlobacter-causes vomit and diarrhea.
§ Clostridium difficile-causes vomit and diarrhea.
• Parasitic infections such as, giardia lamblia which causes giardiasis, causes diarrhea and fluid loss.
• Being in a hot environment and sweating abundantly can cause dehydration. Overexertion during outdoor activities leads to dehydration.
• If the child has been urinating excessively there may be an more serious health concern but dehydration can certainly occur.
• Other health issues such as cystic fibrosis and celiac spue don’t allow food to be absorbed, and leads to dehydration.
• A simple fever will often lead to dehydration. Make sure that your child takes plenty of fluids and that if they are experiencing throat pain they be given a pain reliever like acetaminophen.
• Diarrhea leads to dehydration also. This is because all the intake of fluids or food is exiting as quickly as it is entering. If your child has many soft stools beyond normal they could be experiencing diarrhea and need to be monitored for dehydration.
• Vomiting leads to dehydration because all fluid is expelled as quickly as it enters the body. There are electrolyte drinks and ice pops to help your child stop from being dehydrated.
• Sometimes children refuse to drink. Often this means they have a sore throat or it hurts when they swallow. Giving your child a pain relieving medication and small amounts of cool non citrus drinks will help prevent dehydration.
Dehydration is a serious condition that must be treated immediately. Watch your child to ensure they intake enough fluids. This will ensure they remain healthy, happy and meet all their developmental goals.