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Infant Dehydration: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

September is Baby Safety Month, and we wanted to talk a bit about a condition that happens more frequently this time of year: infant dehydration.

During cold and flu season, your baby has a greater likelihood of catching a cold, influenza or a stomach virus. Unfortunately, many cold and flu viruses cause symptoms – like diarrhea and vomiting – that can lead to dehydration.

What Causes Infant Dehydration?

Dehydration is caused when the body loses water and nutrients faster that they can be replaced normally. Newborns have much smaller reverses of water in the body, and therefore, infants and young children, especially when battling illnesses that rapidly deplete fluids, can become dehydrated more quickly than adults.

Diarrhea is the most common cause of dehydration in young children and babies. The reason is that during an episode of diarrhea a baby loses water and electrolytes quickly. And it becomes challenging to replace these nutrients through bottle or breast feedings. The risk is especially high when diarrhea persists for more than a couple days.

Plus, when diarrhea is coupled with other symptoms that deplete body water, dehydration can set in faster. For instance, when combined with vomiting, another common symptom of colds and flus, the risk for dehydration is even more serious. Other symptoms that can lead to increase fluid loss include fever, sore throats, which discourage babies from drinking voluntarily, overheating and excessive sweating.

Recognize the Symptoms of Baby Dehydration

Is your baby dehydrated? Mild to moderate dehydration, which can often be treated at home, show symptoms like:

  • Fewer wet diapers than normal
  • Darker, more concentrated urine
  • Lethargy, less activity
  • Fussiness
  • Parched mouth, lips
  • No tears when crying

If your baby suffers from a prolonged illness with several symptoms that cause dehydration, severe dehydration may occur. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include:

  • Sunken eyes and fontanels (which are the soft spots on your baby’s head)
  • Lethargy: Inactivity and not responding to touch or your voice
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • No tears when crying
  • 12 or more hours since last wet diaper
  • Dry mouth, no saliva and chapped lips
  • Pale skin that doesn’t snap back into place when pinched

Oral Rehydration for Treating Mild to Moderate Dehydration

For mild to moderate dehydration, an oral rehydration drink can help replenish vital nutrients and water. In fact, oral rehydration drinks like DripDrop are recommended as a first-line of treatment for child dehydration by a variety of groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

DripDrop is packed with essential electrolytes, according to international health community standards, and it is doctor-formulated to match the electrolyte and fluid loss due to diarrhea and vomiting. But the precise ratio of electrolytes in DripDrop also enables the body to absorb water faster, leading to swifter rehydration.

Compared to pediatric alternatives, DripDrop delivers 25 percent more electrolytes to help rehydrate faster.  Find DripDrop at your local pharmacy today.

Image via Flickr.

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