Dehydration in children and adultssymptoms, reasons, what to do

Update: October 2018

Dehydration is a pathological condition and is associated with
decreasing the amount of water in the body below physiological
values. Dehydration is accompanied by metabolic disorders. it
a serious complication of many diseases is dangerous because
develop in a very short time up to irreversible violations.
Dehydration in children, especially infants recognize
difficult and the speed and extent of pathological changes in the body
are great.

Degrees of dehydration

  • Easy – loss of up to 5% of liquid, most often occurs in the first
    hours after acute diarrhea;
  • Medium – a decrease in body water by 6-10%. Develops in
    24-36 hours, often in the presence of hyperthermia and rejection
  • Heavy – loss of 10% of the liquid. Is a consequence of
    persistent vomiting or diarrhea.

Causes of dehydration in children

If a child develops dehydration, the causes may be

  • viral and bacterial infections accompanied by hyperthermia,
    dyspnea, vomiting and the most dangerous symptom is diarrhea (rotaviruses,
    noroviruses, adenoviruses, E. coli, clostridia,
    Campylobacter, Giardia, Salmonella);
  • lack of appetite and thirst against the background of the above
  • diseases involving sore throat in which
    the child, because of the painful symptom, refuses to drink;
  • uncompensated or not diagnosed diabetes mellitus with
    uncontrolled and frequent urination;
  • malabsorption syndrome;
  • cystic fibrosis;
  • vomiting and diarrhea on the background of intoxication of the body (poisoning
    drugs, household chemicals, etc.);
  • insufficient drinking regime;
  • excessive sweating associated with intense physical
    load or high outdoor temperature.

Why are young children most prone to dehydration?

  • children’s body contains more water than an adult;
  • high rate of flow of water and electrolyte metabolism;
  • imperfection of the renal and neurohumoral regulatory mechanisms
    water-salt metabolism.

Causes of dehydration in adults

  • Prolonged non-entry of water into the body (extreme
    situations, etc.);
  • Diseases: acute pathology of the digestive tract with diarrhea and vomiting,
    pathology, accompanied by hyperthermia, dyspnea;
  • Abuse of tea, coffee, soda, alcohol;
  • Taking certain medications (indapaphone, diuretics).

Symptoms of dehydration in a child

With the development of the child, especially up to a year of any of the following
symptoms – diarrhea, vomiting, fever, urgently needed
consult a doctor, call an ambulance. Danger of vomiting and
diarrhea in children is that dehydration occurs very quickly and
even if the child is just sluggish, after another vomiting, he may
become sharply worse, down to loss of consciousness.

Symptoms of dehydration in children requiring an urgent call
the doctor

Symptoms of severe dehydration

  • Dry mouth and tongue;
  • Dry skin;
  • Grayish skin tone;
  • Increased viscosity of saliva;
  • Lethargy and drowsiness;


  • Constant crying, anxiety, crying without tears;
  • Retraction of fontanel on the head;
  • Rapid pulse;
  • Decreased urination and urine (dry
  • Dark urine with a pungent odor;
  • Retraction of the eyes;
  • Thirst;
  • Постоянная сонливость or непрекращающийся плач;
  • Weight loss;
  • Confusion;
  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Decrease in skin turgor – when the skin is squeezed in the fold
    returns to its original state in more than 2 seconds;
  • Muscle spasms and cramps;
  • Marble skin color;
  • Swelling of the extremities, cooling the skin of the extremities;
  • A strong recession of the eyeballs;
  • Complete refusal to drink.

Symptoms in an adult

First, consider the signs of dehydration, often hidden
due to inadequate drinking regime:

  • Fatigue without load, lethargy;
  • Redness of the skin due to blood flow;
  • Anxiety, irritability, fear;
  • Вспыльчивость or подавленность;
  • Bad dream, dreams of water;
  • Dyspnea, not associated with the disease;
  • Thirst, sometimes pathological when thirsty
    beverages that take moisture from the body (tea, coffee, alcohol,

How to determine the dehydration flowing is hidden? Sometimes
enough to analyze the drinking regime, perhaps from daily
drinks in your diet is only tea or coffee.

Symptoms of dehydration in adults differ according to
nature dehydration

Гипертоническое, развивающееся вследствие
water loss (diarrhea, hyperthermia, dyspnea)
Гипотоническое обезвоживание, возникающее
due to electrolyte loss (vomiting):
Изотоническое обезвоживание, характерное для
simultaneous, commensurate loss of water and electrolytes (lack of
drinking, slight vomiting and diarrhea)
  • thirst and dryness of the mouth and skin;
  • fatigue, apathy, agitation;
  • confusion;
  • muscle spasms;
  • hyperthermia;
  • decrease in urine volume.
  • reduced skin elasticity;
  • dry eyes;
  • lack of thirst;
  • vomiting due to drinking liquids;
  • shortness of breath and palpitations.
  • deafness of heart tones;
  • heart rate increase abbreviations;
  • slight thirst.

Consequences of dehydration

For the brain: For blood: The immune system:
  • impaired blood supply, and therefore nutrition;
  • violation of the protective function of the blood-brain barrier;
  • In the future, the risk of developing Parkinsonian disease increases.
    Alzheimer and multiple sclerosis.
  • blood clots;
  • reduction of the lumen of blood vessels;
  • increased blood viscosity;
  • increased risk of blood clots.
increased risk of developing immunodeficient chronic
diseases (asthma, scleroderma, etc.)

What to do when dehydrated

Treatment of dehydration should be carried out at the very first
featured. Early initiation of therapy helps prevent
progression of dehydration and contributes to the treatment of the main

Dehydration in infants

Children under one year should be examined by a doctor for any, even
mild dehydration !!! If a child loses weight, even
slightly, it is a clear sign of progression

Self-treatment even mild dehydration in babies
dangerous because the severity of the condition increases very quickly, clearly
differentiating signs of deterioration is difficult, and medical
help may be overdue. Drink lots of liquids babies
cannot, therefore oral rehydration will be ineffective.

If the attending physician considers possible home treatment
dehydration, he will give appropriate instructions in each
case. If the child drinks well, a drug may be prescribed.
oral rehydration, the daily dose of 130 ml per
1 kg of body weight of the baby.

Babies otpaivayut complex combination of 5% glucose and any
salt solution (rehydron) in the ratio of 1: 4 or 1: 5. For the first 6
hours 80-100 ml per kg of weight fractionally between feedings at least 5 ml per
reception, at least 20, as sucks or drinks from a spoon (cup). Second phase
– replenishment of continuing losses of 80-100 ml per kg. weights up
cessation of diarrhea. If vomiting and diarrhea do not subside, you can not
to take risks, urgent hospital treatment is necessary (intravenous

Oral rehydration indications are only the first two.
степени dehydration. If there is swelling or decreased quantity
urine (oliguria), then they are stopped and intravenous is shown
rehydration That is, a decrease in urine volume cannot be considered a sign
dehydration, which can be managed independently.

Mild dehydration in children

Oral rehydration. It is preferable to use ready-made
drugs for oral rehydration – rehydron, oralit, glukosolan,
galaktin, pedilight.

You can make this solution yourself: 1 l. Boiled
cold water + 0.5 tsp salt + 4 tsp sugar + 0.5 tsp food grade
soda + 0.5 tsp potassium chloride.

Ready solution (both from preparations, and house
preparation) is used during the day. Liquid must have
room temperature, hot drink takes moisture, and cold
will be in transit.

Схема:  В первые 4-5 часов через каждые 10 минут дается
5-15 ml of liquid at a time. The volume of the drug is 30-50 ml per 1
kg mass. Further, while improving the condition, the volume of the solution
decreases, but must match the physiological
needs, taking into account lost fluid. If a child
refuses to drink, you can pour liquid into the cheek from a syringe without

You can use rice water, berry pudding, weak
sweetened tea, fruit drinks, if signs of dehydration are weak and
the child drinks with pleasure. The main rule – do not give at the same time
large amount of water vomiting is possible.

Dehydration in children of moderate

Oral rehydration – according to the above scheme, but the volume
препарата уже 70/80 мл на 1 kg mass. If it is impossible to take
the required amount of fluid self infusion
through the probe.

Intravenous rehydration. Assigned when no effect from
oral rehydration within 4-6 hours from its start. Infusion
Therapy is carried out in a hospital, individually
the calculation of the required volume of fluid for infusion.

Dehydration in severe children

Infusion терапия в условиях реанимации, экстренная в течение
the first two hours and then supporting.

Dehydration in adults

  • The principles of dehydration treatment in adults are the same as in
    children, only the volume of incoming fluid is different.
  • Mild – in the first 6 hours 50 ml per 1 kg of body weight,
    further – supporting rehydration of 80 ml per 1 kg of mass for
    18 hours.
  • The average degree – in the first 6 hours 80 ml per 1 kg of weight, then
    -поддерживающий объем 100 мл на 1 kg mass.
  • In the first 6 hours you should drink often, but not enough: 1-3 tablespoons
    spoons every 5 minutes.
  • Parenteral rehydration (glucose-saline solutions, sols)
    appointed with the ineffectiveness of oral during the day, with
    severe dehydration, with persistent vomiting or

Dehydration prevention

  • Strict adherence to drinking regime. Remember – small
    the child still does not know how to ask to drink, but he must drink. Adults not
    should replace the water needed for normal life
    (and this is 1.5-2 liters per day) soda, coffee or tea;
  • Increased fluid volume at high temperature, in hot
    the weather;
  • Increased drinking and diarrhea or vomiting, even one-time,
    but in compliance with the rule of watering often and in small portions;
  • Breastfeeding of the child even with the development of OCI, vomiting or
    diarrhea – you can not refuse breastfeeding only if
    ban the doctor;
  • Gentle feeding of the child and diet food of an adult even
    with the development of diarrhea and vomiting, hunger is justified only in the early hours
    development of infection.

Автор: врач-гигиенист, эпидемиолог

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