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First Aid - Treating Dehydration

Dehydration Symptoms:

- Pasty, Dry Mouth with no saliva (white tongue)
- No urination for more than 8 hours
- Sunken eyes with no tears
- Irritability, weakness OR
- Extreme Drowsiness

Dehydration Tips...

What NOT To Give:
-No plain water
-No formula
-No whole milk
-No juice
-No red, orange or green drinks
(These colored drinks can later be confused with blood or bile and should be avoided during times of medical care).

What you CAN give:
-Breast milk
-Rehydration drinks such as Pedialyte, Ricelyte, Enfalyte or Pedialyte Popsicles
-Chicken soup
-Sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade (if approved by physician and child is over 9 months of age).

Suggestions on Treating Dehydration:

  • Never give plain water to a young infant unless an amount is directly specified by your child's doctor.
  • Offer your infant small but frequent rehydration liquid doses - about 2 to 3 teaspoons, or up to 1/2 ounce of Pedialyte or Ricelyte (available at most supermarkets or pharmacies) every 10 to 20 minutes. Oral electrolyte solutions are balanced with salt compunds to replace some of what is lost with vomiting or diarrhea, and they also contain some sugar. It's especially important for young infants that any fluids given have the correct salt balance.
  • Unflavored electrolyte solutions are best for younger infants.
  • Gradually increase the amount of solution you are offering. If your infant is able to keep some down for more than 15 minutes without vomiting, then increase by 1 or 2 teaspoons the next liquid challenge. For instance, if your infant takes 3 ounces normally per feed, slowly work up to giving this amount of Pedialyte over the course of a few hours.
  • Do not give more solution at a time than your infant would normally eat - this will overfill an already irritated tummy and will likely cause more vomiting.
  • After your infant goes more than 8 hours without vomiting, you can reintroduce formula slowly to your infant. Start with small (1/2 to 1 ounce), more frequent feeds and slowly work up to your infant's normal feeding routine. If your infant already eats cereal or baby food, it's OK to start solid feedings in small amounts again.
  • If your infant is breast-feeding, and vomits (not just spits up, but vomits what seems like the entire feed) more than twice back-to-back and seems unable to keep any fluids down, call your pediatrician as soon as possible.
  • If your infant is under 1 month old and has forcefully vomited twice back-to-back (not just spitting up small portions), call your infant's doctor immediately!