Dehydration is a matter of great urgency since it threatens the life of the baby. Even once it is corrected, irreversible renal and neurological complications may occur.
CAUSE OF DEHYDRATION
The most frequent causes of dehydration are:
- digestive gastroenteritis, intestinal obstruction
- renal, with paradoxical polyuria
- significant and prolonged febrile conditions
The principal signs of dehydration are:
-accentuated abdominal fold of the skin is pinched between the fingers
-softening or depression of the fontanel
-dryness of mucus glands beneath the surface f facial cheeks
Fever without apparent cause.
The treatment involves immediate hospitalisation, in order to replace the loss of fluids as quickly as possible, to try and protect the encephalon and kidneys and prevent irreversible collapse.
At the same time, associated problems, such as infection, diarrhoea and vomiting must also be corrected.
Prevention depends on avoiding dehydration conditions, treating the immediate or distant causes which generate them like vomiting, diarrhoea, polyuria(excess urination), infections and malnutrition.
The breastfeeding baby has a special vulnerability to loss of fluids, because 40% of his extracellular weight is water, whereas it is only 25% for adults. The milk-fed baby needs between 100 and 150 millilitres of water per kilogramme of body water per day. The adult, on the other hand, needs no more than 25 ml.
The human’s body main component is water. Therefore, a considerable loss of water may cause serious problems, particularly in the case of babies.