According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, not being hydrated can have significant repercussions on children’s physical health and their cognitive and emotional functioning. Providing the body enough fluid is essential for circulation, metabolism, temperature regulation, and toxin removal.
Dehydration can occur quickly in the heat and it is important to watch for signs such as:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouthand/or swollen tongue
- Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
- Inability to sweat
- Decreased urine output
If a child or an adult suffers from dehydration, be sure to give small sips of water, provide electrolyte replacement water, loosen or remove excess clothing to help cool the person down, find an air-conditioned area, if possible, or a fan. If dehydration is severe, seek medical attention.
Even mild dehydration can lead to headaches, irritability, poor physical performance, and reduced cognitive functioning. Provide many opportunities to drink water throughout the day for children and watch out for these mild signs when it is hot out.
Luckily, the solution can be simple. Grab a glass and fill it with water, then drink. The fix is as simple as that! No need for fancy sports drinks or fizzy sodas. In fact, avoid those things anyway (unless dehydrated and then drink an electrolyte replacement drink). Make your water fun by adding slices of oranges, apples, watermelon, or cherries! Better yet, freeze some grapes for a cool, amusing way to fill your water glass! Providing the body with enough water can make us feel better and function better. Don’t let your kids (or you!) get thirsty! Bottoms up!