Feeling “Hot, Hot, Hot”? Anyone? Almost all of the United States just experienced blistering, mind numbing continuous heat for over a week. And today, it will be a cool 90 degrees, yipee!
Dehydration and heat exhaustion can affect anyone (even Roy Halladay, the Doctor himself), particularly at risk are the elderly and small children. In this recent weather, it took but a few minutes to feel parched if spending any significant amount of time outside. What is different in small children is that they don’t sense it as early as you might, if at all, and further, an infant or small barely verbal toddler can’t come up and ask for a drink.
Some signs to look for are obvious, dry lips and mouth, while others include sunken eyes, rapid heart beat, perspiration and decreased or thickened saliva. The person may say they are lightheaded or dizzy. Any of these indicate it is time to hydrate.
1-3 years old: 4 cups or equivalent of fluid
4-8 years old: 5-6 cups or equivalent of fluid
7-10 years old: 7-10 cups or equivalent of fluid
10-12 years old: 10-12 cups or equivalent of fluid
What are equivalents? The many sources we can find in the fruit and vegetable aisle, including, oranges, grapefruit, peaches, watermelon, grapes (frozen they are awesome), tomatoes, and cucumbers. All high in water and high in nutrients.
Lastly, especially if you and/or your child has been perspiring or doing more than a light amount of exercise, add in a handful or 2 of salted nuts to add back in the sodium you lost. Gatorade will do the same, but nuts give you a protein boost as well. Sports drinks are generally not needed for the non athlete, and vitamin waters and other “designer” waters are mostly just that-fancy way to dress up plain old needed nutrient number one, water!
Laura Zurita is a registered dietitian and Montgomery County mom to a 6 AND A HALF year old. Her and her family enjoy hiking, reading and watching the Philadelphia Phillies.