Dehydration in Children (cont.)
Dehydration in Children
- If the dehydration is mild (3% to 5% total body weight loss), the doctor may ask you to give the child small sips of Pedialyte or other oral rehydration fluids. If your child is able to drink fluids (and no dangerous underlying illness or infection is present), you will be sent home with instructions on oral rehydration, information about things to be concerned with and reasons to return or call
the health care professional.
- If your child is moderately dehydrated (5% to 10% total body weight loss), the doctor may place a tube into a vein (intravenous line or "IV") to
provide fluids to rehydrate the child. If your child is able to take fluid by mouth after IV fluid replacement, improves after IV fluid replacement, and has no apparent dangerous underlying illness or infection, you may be sent home. When sent home, you will receive instructions on oral rehydration, instructions for close follow-up with your family doctor (most likely to be seen in the office the next day), and instructions on things to be concerned about and reasons to return or
contact your health care professional.
- If your child is severely dehydrated (more than 10% to 15% weight loss), the child will most likely be admitted to the hospital for continued
IV fluid replacement, observation, and often further tests to determine what is causing dehydration. Children with bacterial infections will receive antibiotics, but
viral infections will not usually require specific antibiotic therapy. In children, vomiting and diarrhea are almost never treated with drugs to stop vomiting (called
antiemetics) or antidiarrheals. Such treatment would usually prolong the diarrhea.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/17/2013
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