Dehydration is the excessive loss of body fluids. Dehydration usually caused by diarrhea or vomiting. In particular, dehydration is a serious condition in children because of the long colon and bowel wall surface greater in children. The more the amount of area that must be passed with fluid, the greater the loss of fluid from the body. This is why a child can lose as much fluid from adults in a single episode of diarrhea. Because the total weight smaller children, the loss of fluid is much more dangerous to children.
Dehydration causes loss of fluids and electrolytes, like sodium, chloride, potassium, and others, from within body.
Dehydration occurs when a child with diarrhea or vomiting and loss of about 6-9% of total body weight. Severe dehydration occurs when more than 10% of total weight lost child.
Symptoms of dehydration can be observed. To detect the occurrence of dehydration, your doctor will ask you some questions like:
- Frequency of bowel movement, volume and density
- Frequency vomiting, if any, and the volume and severity
- Thirst, if a child is old enough to ask for a drink
- The volume of urination since the start of diarrhea
In addition, your doctor will look for general appearance, such as sunken eyes, dryness of the mouth and tongue, and breathing rate and type of breath.
The doctor will examine the skin elasticity. Normal elasticity will be lost when dehydration occurs. He also will measure the pulse, for detecting whether the beats very fast or slow, and see fontanels in infants who are still very small. Fontanels is a soft area in the fontanel babies, namely regions that have not been meeting the skull with a perfect blend.