• Nutrition

Dehydration

Glasses of water

The dangers of dehydration

When a child has diarrhoea, with or without vomiting, large amounts of fluid and electrolytes are lost from the body. This excessive fluid loss can lead to dehydration – when the body loses so much water that it can no longer function efficiently. If a child has both diarrhoea and continued vomiting, dehydration may become even more dangerous. Certain minerals, including potassium, sodium and chloride, are known as electrolytes and are vital for proper cell function and growth.

Proper balance of electrolytes

Some sports drinks and other household beverages lack the proper balance of electrolytes children can lose during diarrhoea and vomiting. Many of these beverages contain sugar, which can make diarrhoea worse. Extra sugar can draw water away from parts of the body that need it most.

Warning signs of dehydration

  • Frequent watery stools, often with a change in colour or odour
  • Less-frequent urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Few tears

Signs of severe dehydration

  • Overly sleepy or fussy
  • Sunken eyes
  • No tears
  • Minimal urination

Speak with your Healthcare Professional immediately if you notice one or more of these symptoms.