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Advice for Patients
August 2010

Dehydration and Oral Rehydration

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(8):784. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.140

Dehydration means that the body has lost too much fluid. Dehydration can be caused by not drinking enough fluids, vomiting, or diarrhea. Infants and small children are more likely to become dehydrated than adolescents and adults because they can lose fluid quickly. If dehydration becomes severe it can be serious and life-threatening. Luckily, there are many things parents can do to help prevent these serious complications .

If you are worried that your child is dehydrated, call your pediatrician. If the dehydration is mild, your pediatrician may recommend treating it at home with oral fluids. This means encouraging your child to suck or drink small amounts of fluids. If your child is sick and will not eat any solid foods for a day or so, this is not likely to be a problem; however, it is most important to focus on providing fluids during a vomiting illness.

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