Growing up in Arizona, I am well aware of the affects that dehydration has on the body. Now that I live in Florida, not much has changed. Summertime is here and the kids are outside a lot. They forget to drink water and as parents, we need to keep on top of it.
This is a guest post by Dr. Mayrene Hernandez who reminds parents not to wait for your child to say they are thirsty. She gives simple tips for parents to help kids beat the heat during this sizzling summer.
Dr. Hernandez, United Healthcare Group’s (www.uhc.com) Florida Medical Director, says hydration is particularly important for children as they have higher water requirements than adults. Their cooling system isn’t fully developed. The surface area of a child is smaller and sweat glands aren’t fully developed, this makes it much harder for the body to cool itself.
Common Signs Of Dehydration
A dry or sticky mouth
Few or no tears when crying
Eyes that look sunken
In babies, the soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head looks sunken
Peeing less or fewer wet diapers than usual
Dry, cool skin
Drowsiness or dizziness
4 Gulps Per 15 Minutes: For every 15 minutes of outdoor activity drink about 4 ounces of water, this is approximately 4 gulps.
Pretzels, Fruit, Gold Fish:
Every 30 – 45 minutes give the child with salt and potassium to help protect against electrolyte loss and promote hydration. Pretzels or goldfish or a cheese stick with some oranges, banana, or strawberries are good options. Avoid sugary sports drinks which were developed with an adult’s body in mind.
½ Water, ½ Milk, Fruit Juice, Smoothies: Dr. Hernandez says children should drink half of their fluids from water and the other half from milk, 100% fruit juice or smoothies.
Increase Hydration with Popsicles, Gelato, Smoothies, Yogurt: Great ways to increase hydration in children is to make home-made popsicles and gelato with real fruit, providing a fresh fruit smoothie made with coconut water, milk or milk substitute, or yogurt after some time outside is great, too!
Skip The Soda: Carbonated water mixed with fruit juice is a great alternative to soda. Use frozen fruit as ice-cubes in water or seltzer waters, too.
About Dr. Mayrene Hernandez
Dr. Mayrene Hernandez joined UnitedHealth Group in 2012 as part of the South East Clinical Services Leadership Team. She originally started as an inpatient care management medical director. She was promptly promoted to her current role as the Sr. Market Medical Director in Florida. Her role is diverse with direct and indirect engagements with multiple sectors within a manage care organization.
She is Board Certified in Family Practice for well over 10 years also a practicing physician. She holds the position of Clinical Assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University and enjoys being a mentor to future medical students.