Dehydration can occur anytime of the year; however, the summer month’s high temperatures and humidity increase the risk of dehydration, especially in children. A recent study in the American Journal of Public Health found that about 55 percent of kids ages 6 to 19 are inadequately hydrated. Combined with the increased loss of fluids due to sweating in the heat, it is important that you keep an eye on how much your child is drinking this summer.
Here are a few tips to help children stay hydrated:
Don’t wait until they are thirsty!
By the time kids are thirsty and asking for a drink, they are already dehydrated. Three studies by the University of Connecticut found that more than half of the children at sports camps were significantly dehydrated, even with the availability of water and sports drinks as well as encouragement to drink fluids. Make sure they take breaks about every twenty minutes in hot temperatures.
Water can be boring, especially for children. Sports drinks are a great option for rehydrating and replenishing electrolytes lost from sweating. However, it should be noted that these drinks do contain high amounts of sugar and calories and should be consumed in moderation.
Another way to keep your child hydrated is by offering fruits high in water content such as watermelon and peaches during an after play-time snack. It is important to also make sure high-water content fruits and vegetables are a part of their daily diet.
What to do if you suspect dehydration? Below are symptoms to look out for of severe dehydration:
- Crying without tears
- No urine output for over a period of four to six hours
- Dry mouth
- Sunken eyes
- Blood in the stool
- Vomiting for more than 24 hours, or vomiting that is consistently green in color
- Fever higher than 103 F (39.4 C)
- Less activity than usual
- Abdominal pain
If your child is experiencing any of the above, call your doctor or visit https://www.afcurgentcare.com/ to find an American Family Care near you. American Family Care is open daily with extended hours.