Staying Hydrated

Yesterday my youngest son came home from camp and wasn’t feeling well. He was disorientated, told me he couldn’t see, and started dry heaving. His face looked yellow, and his eyes were sunken in his face. It turned out he was severely dehydrated.

Today I joined the boys at camp and started pushing water on the boys. They may have giggled or told mom & dad that I kept asking them if they had peed yet. In fact, I told them I wanted them to drink so much in the morning that they had to pee by lunchtime!

My son thought he was drinking enough water – but when I asked him if he used the bathroom at all on Tuesday – he never did. That’s a telltale sign that dehydration is setting in. A body needs enough fluids not only to help you sweat and feel cool, but also to help pass waste and keep itself clean.

Just recently the Boy Scouts of America updated their Health and Safety notice regarding Heat Index and Hydration:
http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/Alerts/heat_index.aspx

The gem on this page is the color chart on heat index, and urine color:
http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/680-022.pdf

Please take a minute and talk to your boys about this. With high temps continuing over 90′, an adult should be drinking almost a quart of water every hour! (THAT IS A LOT OF WATER!) A 50 pound child can’t lose a lot of fluids without ill effects. Kids drink slightly less than an adult, but it’s still more than a gallon spread out across the day at camp. It’s best to drink water while you still feel well – because when you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

If your child comes home and gets sick like my son did, don’t start pumping them full of water – it is likely they will vomit, and become more dehydrated. Typically a hospital will start an IV, but on one visit to a hospital when we were out of town we learned a neat trick.

If your child is in immediate danger, please take them to the hospital! I am NOT a medical doctor. If in doubt, seek immediate medical attention. An ER Pediatrician in the hospital taught us to do this, instead of an IV: http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/epr/public/h1n1/homehealthcare/Preventing%20and%20Treating%20Dehydration.pdf

Basically, we started with a spoonful of water every 5 minutes. The hospital gave us an egg timer to be exact! After 30 minutes or so, we moved to small sips of water every two minutes, and at about an hour or so he was able to take mouthfuls. Within a couple of hours my son was up and feeling better, drinking and passing urine again.

Yesterday we were able to start with the small sips, and in an hour or so with the comfort of cool cloths he was up and about again. He had an ice pop, and even ate dinner a little while after that.

We did take him to the Urgent Care after dinner to get checked out. He was fine, and had a great day in camp today. And yes, he used the bathroom twice by lunchtime. ;)

Talking about peeing at camp probably isn’t what you expected to get from me. But it is very important that you help your kids understand how to tell if they are getting dehydrated so they can have a safe & fun experience. If they’re not using the potties they are not drinking enough.

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