Treating Infants and Children :
Use an oral rehydration solution :This is the preferred treatment recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for mild to moderate dehydration. Plan to restore your child’s fluid levels over the course of 3-4 hours.
- Use a commercial electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte. These solutions have sugar and salt electrolytes to help prevent low blood sugar. It is possible to make your own rehydration solutions, but due to the possibility of error, it is generally safer to use commercial solutions
- Give your child 1-2 teaspoons (5-10ml) of the solution every few minutes. You can use a spoon or an oral syringe (does not contain a needle).Start off slow; too much fluid at once can cause nausea or vomiting. If your child vomits, wait 30 minutes before starting again.
Avoid other fluids :If your child is dehydrated, s/he will probably need to have the electrolyte balance in the bloodstream restored. Sodas and juices may cause hyponatremia, or low blood sodium, in children. Plain water also does not contain enough electrolytes to replenish your child’s body because children have a much faster electrolyte turnover than adults
- Sodas may also contain caffeine, which is a diuretic and can further dehydrate the child.
- Juices may have too much sugar and can make dehydration worse in young children. This is also true for sports drinks such as Gatorade.
- Other fluids to avoid include milk, clear broths, tea, ginger ale, and Jell-O.
Breastfeed an infant :If your baby is still breast-feeding, try to persuade the infant to breastfeed. This will help restore the baby’s electrolyte and fluid levels and will also help further fluid loss through diarrhea.
- You can use oral rehydration solution in between breastfeedings if your infant is very dehydrated.
- Do not use formula during the rehydration period.
Maintain hydration. Once your child has had the initial fluids restored, you need to make sure that the child continues to get enough fluid for the next 24 hours. The American Association of Family Physicians recommends the following formula:
- Infants should receive 1 ounce of oral rehydration solution per hour.
- Toddlers (ages 1-3) should receive 2 ounces of oral rehydration solution per hour.
- Older children (over 3) should receive 3 ounces of oral rehydration solution per hour.
Check the child’s urine. To make sure that rehydration is working, check the color of your child’s urine. As with adults’ urine, healthy children should have pale, clear yellow urine.
- Very clear or colorless urine could be a sign of overhydration. Ease up on the fluids for a bit to make sure that you don’t throw off your child’s sodium balance.
- If the urine is amber or darker, continue with the rehydration treatment.
Treating Adults :
Drink water and clear liquids in small amounts. Water is usually enough to rehydrate adults. Other options include clear broth, popsicles, Jell-O, and sports drinks that contain electrolytes. Go slow; drinking too much too fast may cause vomiting.
- Try ice chips. They dissolve slowly and the cooling effect can be helpful for overheated people.
- If the dehydration is the result of prolonged physical activity, consume a sports drink that contains electrolytes.
Avoid some fluids.When you’re dehydrated, avoid caffeine and alcohol. These have dehydrating effects on the body. Beverages such as coffee, caffeinated tea, and soda should not be taken while dehydrated. You should also avoid fruit juices, as the sugar can have a dehydrating effect by increasing urination.
3. Eat foods with a high water content. If you are not nauseated, try eating some fruits and vegetables with a high water content.
Watermelon, cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges, and strawberries are very high in water contentBroccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes have very high water content
Avoid dairy if you have diarrhea or nausea along with dehydration. It can make these symptoms worse
4 .Seek medical assistance if you do not improve. If you don’t feel better after rehydrating, or if you have a fever over 104F, seek immediate medical help.
Treating Heat-Related Dehydration :
Stop activities. If you are dehydrated, further exertion will only make your body weaker. Stop your activities.
Move to a cool area. This will help promote heat loss from sweat and prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Lie down. This will prevent any more exertion and help prevent fainting.
- If you can, prop your feet up. This may help keep you from fainting.
Cool your body. If dehydration is a side effect of heat exposure, remove excess clothing to cool off. You can also use damp towels and spray misters to help cool your body.
- Do not use ice water or ice packs. These can cause the blood vessels to constrict and can actually increase heat retention.
- Use a spray bottle to mist lukewarm water onto the skin. The evaporation will help cool your body.
- Place damp cloths on areas of your body with thinner skin, such as the neck and face wrists, collarbone, upper arms and armpits, and inner thighs.
Encourage your child to rest. If your child is mildly dehydrated due to overexertion, for example from playing vigorous sports, encourage the child to rest in a cool place out of the sun until s/he has replaced the lost fluids
- Allow your child to drink as much water as s/he wants to during this period.
- For older children, sports drinks containing sugar and salts (electrolytes) can be a good rehydration option.
Rehydrate. Use the steps in Method 3 to rehydrate your body. Drink at least 2 quarts (2 liters) of fluids over 2-4 hours.
- You should try to consume sports drinks that contain electrolytes or rehydration solutions to help restore your electrolyte balance. Mix 1 quart water with ½ teaspoon table salt and 6 teaspoons sugar for an inexpensive at-home rehydration solution.
- Avoid salt tablets. They can cause excess salt in the body and can cause severe complications.
Seek medical help for severe dehydration or heat exhaustion. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause dehydration and heat stroke. If you feel faint, dizzy, weak, or shaky, this could be a sign of heat exhaustion. Get emergency medical attention immediately.
- If you have any symptoms of severe dehydration, such as rapid heart rate, weakness, shakiness, light-headedness, or extreme thirst, call your emergency services and seek medical attention immediately. Unchecked dehydration can lead to delirium, shock, stroke and death.