Dehydration in children.

Ekai kaoo By Ekai kaoo, 3rd Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Children's Health

this content is about dehydration which is one of the condition that manifest in children as a result of diarrhea or excessive sweating..Its manifestation and management is also covered.


Excessive fluid loss from the body is called dehydration. This condition can have very serious consequences. Dehydration can be mild, moderate or severe, especially in children.
There are several causes of dehydration
Causes of dehydration
• Diarrhoea and/or vomiting
• Excessive sweating
• Failure to eat or drink
• Starvation
• Polyuria
Clinical Features
Dehydration can present in the following ways. As a nurse, you should be vigilant for any or all of these symptoms:
• Depressed fontanelle
• Sunken eyeballs
• Dry skin and mucous membrane
• Inelastic skin
• Subnormal body temperature
• Rapid pulse rate
• Low blood pressure/shock
• Mental confusion/lethargy, the child may become comatose

A dehydrated child looks weak and, therefore, needs to be kept at rest until the condition improves. The doctor looking after the child will rely on the history given, physical examination performed and basic laboratory blood tests. The tests here include blood for white blood cell count total and differentials, and haemoglobin. Physical examination is helpful to ascertain the degree of dehydration, which is necessary for determining the amount of fluid required. The child should also be weighed for the same purpose.
The cause of dehydration if known, for example, diarrhoea and/or vomiting, has to be controlled. The child's parents can manage mild dehydration at home after they have been given some basic health education and an adequate supply of drugs
and ORS.
Moderate and severe dehydration may have to be managed in the following manner. Solid foodstuff and milk may have to be suspended temporarily to rest the alimentary tract in the case of diarrhoea and vomiting. Oral fluid (ORS) should be administered in small amounts at regular intervals. A liquid diet should be prescribed, to be given at regular intervals unless contra indicated. Parenteral fluid intake may also be prescribed. This should consist of sodium chloride alternating with dextrose 5% intravenous. Hartmann's solution or a similar infusion may be given according to the cause of dehydration. The infusion must run slowly. In some cases, especially when the child's veins have collapsed, a venous cut down may be performed or subcutaneous infusion may have to be given slowly.
You must at all times ensure that a fluid balance chart is maintained strictly in anticipation of possible renal failure. The electrolyte level must be monitored because a depleted level may indicate onset of cardiac complication. Electrolyte replacement in the drip may be indicated. Vital signs should be taken and recorded every two to four hours to ensure the child's circulation is not overloaded with fluids.
Always be observant for possible complications. These include renal failure, cardiac failure and venous thrombosis due to haemo concentration.


Children, Dehydration

Meet the author

author avatar Ekai kaoo
Am a fourth year student undertaking Bachelor of science in Nursing.I like writing articles of medical field.

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