How To Prevent Dehydration in Young Children

Dehydration is a very real threat to young children during cold and flu season, and one that parents should be prepared for. Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than it can take in. Fluid loss may be caused by vomiting, diarrhea and fever, and it upsets the normal balance of fluids and salts.

"Every parent should be aware of the warning signs of dehydration," according to nationally recognized pediatrician Dr. Paula Elbirt-Bender. "They are easy to learn and include dry mouth, lethargy, no tears when crying, decreased urination and, in infants, failure to produce a wet diaper or a sunken soft spot on the top of the head."

To prevent serious dehydration, pediatricians often recommend an over-the-counter electrolyte replenisher, which is a combination of water, minerals and carbohydrates that helps maintain electrolyte balance during bouts of flu.

Replenishing fluids doesn't mean your child has to take bad-tasting medicine. Over-the-counter medications that taste good are easier to administer. Kao Lectrolyte, from the makers of Kaopectate, is a new electrolyte replenisher introduced for this flu season. Two flavors, grape and bubble gum, are available, both favorites with children. In national taste tests, children preferred Kao Lectrolyte's grape and bubble gum flavored liquids by nearly three to one over Pedialyte's grape and bubble gum flavored liquids. It is also available unflavored for infants.

For children under two years of age, consult your pediatrician before feeding Kao Lectrolyte. Parents should also consult their pediatrician if a child's illness persists.

Convenience is another consideration. Kao Lectrolyte comes in four single-serving packets of pre-measured powder that are mixed with water. Unlike pre-mixed replenishers, the unused product does not have to be thrown out after 48 hours, saving parents money and trips to the drugstore.

According to Charlene Crandall, Pharmacia & Upjohn product manager for Kao Lectrolyte, "Electrolyte solutions won't help if children won't take them. We developed Kao Lectrolyte as a good tasting product that children will take more willingly than the current offerings.(NAPSI)

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