Illness can cause kids to lose large amounts of water and electrolytes through vomiting, diarrhoea or fever. Some illnesses also make it difficult for kids to drink enough fluids to maintain proper hydration. Children are more vulnerable to dehydration than adults because of their small body weights and large turnover of water and electrolytes. Here are five tips to help prevent your kids from becoming dehydrated when unwell:
- Offer your child plenty of fluids if they are sick. Small, frequent sips of fluid are better than trying to force your child to drink large amounts. This is because drinking large amounts of fluids can trigger vomiting, which increases fluid loss.
- If your child has diarrhoea, avoid giving them plain water or soda water, ginger ale, tea, juices, broths or sports drinks. These fluids don’t contain the right balance of salts and may even make diarrhoea worse. Rather use an oral rehydration solution such as Gastrolyte, which helps replace fluids and electrolytes lost due to diarrhoea and vomiting.
- Remember to stay calm and reassure your child when they are sick. Vomiting can be frightening to young children. Ensuring kids stay hydrated is important for a quick recovery.
- Use a teaspoon or oral syringe for administering fluids to young children and infants.
- Avoid giving your child fatty foods, or foods high in sugar, such as fruit juice or soft drinks.
Seek medical advice if diarrhoea or vomiting persists for longer than:
- 6 hours in infants under 6 months
- 12 hours in children under 3 years
- 24 hours in children aged 3‐6 years
- 48 hours in adults and children over 6 years
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet
For more information, please visit https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/dehydration.html