With temperatures already reaching the 90 degree mark here in Georgia and many other parts of the country, it’s time to give some serious thought to how we can prevent dehydration and keep our families safe in the summer heat. My family spends so much time in the pool and outdoors during the summer months. Things heat up rather quickly, just spending an afternoon at the park. My granddaughter, Becca, will be at cheer camp all this week and I worry about her staying hydrated while tumbling and cheering out in the heat all day.
Earlier this year I was introduced to an oral rehydration solution called Drip Drop. I’ll be putting it in Becca’s water bottle, before she heads off to camp this week. It’s a product that I have come to rely on for both prevention and treatment of dehydration, and am thrilled to have an opportunity to partner with them again. The founder of Drip Drop, Eduardo Dolhun MD, was nice enough to provide us with some important information to help keep our families hydrated during outdoor sports and play this summer.
What are the early signs that my child is dehydrated?
Unfortunately, children are most susceptible to dehydration – it accounts for roughly 10% of all hospital visits a year. That’s 3 million outpatient visits and more than 200,000 hospital stays a year.
Recognizing the early warning signs of dehydration in your child can prevent trips to the doctor and the dreaded IV. So if your child is battling stomach flu, with vomiting or diarrhea, has a fever, or has been outside in the sun all day, these are a few common symptoms of dehydration to watch out for:
• Dry mouth
• Few to little tears
• Decreased urine production
• Clammy skin
Another great way to determine your child’s hydration level is to check the color and frequency of their urine. Dark yellow urine means the child is dehydrated; yellow urine means the child is fine; clear urine means your child is over hydrated. Too little urine also signals dehydration.
What are the signs that my child is severely dehydrated?
Severe dehydration includes extreme lethargy or diminished consciousness, hallucinations, no tears or urine production, cool or moist extremities, a fast or weak pulse, and sunken eyes or a sunken fontanel (the soft spot on a baby’s head).
How much water should my child drink daily?
The daily minimum requirement of water your child should drink everyday is the amount that equals the quantity she loses every day. Our body’s hydration needs are not constant; they are affected by everyday changes in diet, weather conditions, diseases, exercise levels, etc.
A healthy child may drink between 1 and 2 liters per day, which adds up to 4-8 cups of water, depending on their activity levels, though there is great variation.
Can my child drink too much water?
While drinking too much water is possible, it is uncommon. Over hydration occurs when our total water intake is excessive for our body’s needs. Usually, the kidneys are very effective at getting rid of excess water, but occasionally they cannot cope. As the water content of the blood increases, the salt content is diluted (this is called hyponatremia), decreasing the amount of salt available to body tissues and changing the distribution of water in the different body compartments. This can progress to cramping, confusion, seizure, coma, and even death in very extreme circumstances, especially if the low sodium state continues for a long time. Again, this is uncommon and clear urine flow is a signal the body is excreting excess fluids and the kidneys are doing their job.
How much more should a child drink when they’re outside during the summer?
In a healthy child, she should drink to replenish fluids lost. Make sure she takes short breaks to hydrate during physical activity or if she is sweating. Teach her to listen to her body: does she feel thirsty? Fatigued? Really hot? These all may be signs that her body is moderately dehydrated so she should take a break and drink. To prevent over-hydration, it is better for her to replenish her fluids in small sips (vs. big gulps) and to replace the lost salt in the sweat by drinking salt in the fluids. Again, one aims to replace the lost electrolytes (salt being the main one) AND the water lost during sweating. Replacing only water leads to low salt in the blood (hyponatremia) that initially decreases athletic performance and can lead to severe consequences, as listed above.
Should my child use a product like Drip Drop daily?
Drip Drop is absolutely safe for your child to drink daily and will help prevent dehydration. Drip Drop’s ingredients are “Generally Recognized as Safe” (or G.R.A.S.) by the FDA, and it contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The children I work with are my biggest fans and harshest critics: they are the reason we created berry flavor, and now some have suggested mixing the berry with the lemon flavor.
Does my child need more fluids when they’re sick?
Yes, your child absolutely needs more fluids when she is sick. She is producing more mucous, coughing, labored breathing, vomiting or diarrhea – all of these symptoms accelerate dehydration and then the dehydration makes the symptoms worse!
Once you believe your child is dehydrated, start giving Drip Drop oral rehydration solution right away by giving the child small sips of the solution. It is recommended that Drip Drop be served in small doses to the child to help avoid vomiting the solution (which is common for a sick child if they drink anything too fast). It can be administered with a spoon, a 20cc syringe, or through a sippy cup for young children. Older children can sip the solution slowly (waiting 10-20 seconds between sips). In a 24-hour period a child should consumer a liter of reconstituted Drip Drop (powder solution).
The duration of Drip Drop use depends upon the type of illness. A quick rule of thumb is to give young children 2-4 ounces of Drip Drop after every loose stool, and greater volumes if large amounts of fluid are lost with diarrhea or vomiting. It is recommended to continue taking Drip Drop until the child is active and urine has a pale yellow color and good flow. Begin an age appropriate diet after rehydration is accomplished.
Any child who is less than 12 months old, or is ill more than 24 hours should seek the consultation of a physician.
About Eduardo Dolhun, MD
As a student at the Mayo Medical School, Eduardo Dolhun MD witnessed scores of children dying unnecessarily from dehydration while on a relief mission in Guatemala. Seeking a swift response, Dr. Dolhun first witnessed the power of “Oral Rehydration Solutions” to save lives where other methods had failed. He returned to the U.S. a passionate advocate for ORS and was surprised to learn that it wasn’t common practice among doctors and hospitals (or Moms). Why? ORS traditionally tasted bad – too salty.
Dr. Dolhun knew he could do better. After 5 years of research and development and thousands of use-case examples, Drip Drop was brought to market in January of 2011. By breaking the taste barrier, Drip Drop is the first medically effective oral rehydration solution that is tasty and safe enough to treat and prevent mild to moderate dehydration, even to drink every day.
If you’ve ever tried to get a child to choke down a glass of that other pediatric solution, or hold them still while a nurse inserts an IV, Drip Drop is a welcome alternative!
All the information provided herein is given as a courtesy, and all the material is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is in no manner an endorsement, recommendation or approval of any person, product, or treatment. The content of this blog post is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians and should not be construed as rendering medical advice.
Visit the Drip Drop website to learn more about the benefits of this oral rehydration solution. Drip Drop has a special offer for About A Mom readers! Use coupon code SummerHydration to save 20% off your order today! You can also connect with Drip Drop on Facebook and Twitter.
Will your family spend a lot of time outdoors this summer, and how will you stay hydrated?