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Dehydration in Children

Dehydration in Children Overview

Dehydration means that a child's body lacks enough fluid. Dehydration can result from vomiting, diarrhea, not drinking enough fluids, or any combination of these conditions. Rarely, sweating too much or urinating too much can cause dehydration. Infants and small children are much more likely to become dehydrated than older children or adults, because they can lose relatively more fluid quickly.

Causes of Dehydration in Children

  • Dehydration is most often caused by fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and a decreased ability to drink or eat associated with a viral infection.
    • Common viral infections that cause vomiting or diarrhea include rotavirus, Norwalk virus, and adenovirus.
    • Sometimes sores in a child's mouth (caused by any several viruses) make it painful to eat or drink, which helps to cause or worsen dehydration.
  • More serious bacterial infections may make a child less likely to eat and may cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Parasitic infections by Giardia lamblia cause the condition known as giardiasis , which can lead to diarrhea and fluid loss.
  • Increased sweating from a very hot environment can cause dehydration.
  • Excessive urination can be caused by unrecognized or poorly treated diabetes mellitus (not taking insulin) or diabetes insipidus.
  • Conditions such as cystic fibrosis or celiac sprue do not allow food to be absorbed and can cause dehydration.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/17/2013

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Dehydration »

Dehydration describes a state of negative fluid balance that may be caused by numerous disease entities.

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