Michelle Rupp: Welcome into this week’s episode of AFMC TV. This week we’re talking all things hydration and how you can better prepare your kids for being outside as well as some of the indicators they might give you if they’re feeling thirsty without telling you they’re feeling thirsty. Joining me today is pediatrician Dr Chad Rodgers. He’s also our chief medical officer here at AFMC. Dr. Chad, thanks for coming in.

Dr. Chad Rodgers: Thanks for having me.

MR: So as a pediatrician, you see kids of all ages. What are some of the behavioral signs kids would exhibit when they’re thirsty when they’re feeling dehydrated?

CR: So, as adults, you kind of have that thirst that you get that indicates that you need to drink water. Kids are not always so aware of that thirst and they’re not going to tell you “mom, I’m thirsty.” Especially very young children. So a lot of times you have to look for those symptoms. Sometimes your child, if they’re getting dehydrated, may be a little bit more cranky, may bea little bit more sleepy. Sometimes they have decreased urine output. So especially if a child that’s in diapers or a younger child is only going to the bathroom two or three times a day, they’re not drinking enough water. I’ve talked to some friends who are parents who have said they’ve gone from a perfect little angel to a demon child, right? And didn’t understand how that happens.

MR: And again, all because of just being dehydrated.

CR: Yeah. You know, that’s such a common misconception. You know, like how can we get dehydrated when we’re at the lake? I mean we have water everywhere. So, if I was going to say one word once, and in fact I say it three times, its “water, water, water.” You need to be drinking water. There are a lot of times when you’re at the beach that you are not really conscious of the fact that you’re losing water from your body. So, through sweating, of course, your body is trying to cool off. Another way you lose water is through your breath. Especially if you’re warm and you’re playing hard or you’re exercising, you’re blowing off a lot of water just out of your breath. A lot of times people aren’t aware that they’re losing so much water and many times too, we’re kind of doing the fun stuff and we’re not thinking about stopping for breaks and not thinking about stopping to drink some water. 

MR: So there’s a lot of lots of water there, there’s so much emphasis on water. Is it always just water? What about electrolytes? What about the Gatorades, the Powerades, the sugary drinks that are supposed to be helpful?

CR: Yeah. You know, I think sometimes in an effort for parents to get kids to drink, they offer sugary beverages and so after like say sports or after being out in the sun for a couple of days, things like Gatorade, Powerade, Pedia Light, which is sort of the Gatorade version for babies might be good for immediately after you’ve had a lot of sweating and a lot of hard play. But really at that point that becomes unuseful and actually can become dangerous because the amount of sugar that those beverages contain. But we do know that things like fruit are very safe for Children and you can use fruit to flavor water, like natural fruit. Those are some of the ways to kind of encourage kids to drink more of the water.

MR: My last question, I would think we could get to an extreme here. And so is there any sign or any symptom that would require some type of escalation of medical attention or making a phone call the next day to the doctor’s office?

CR: If you suspect that your child is getting dehydrated, I would probably more immediately pick up the phone and call your doctor’s office, especially if your child is acting really weird and just not being their usual self. They’re not able to speak well. Maybe they’re real lethargic then. That’s a time to maybe communicate with your physician, but you may want to think about going on to emergency care.