Childhood illnesses: D
Understand childhood illnesses and know what to do when they occur.


When you are dehydrated, you are using more water than you are taking in.


  • Watch out for symptoms after vomiting or diarrhoea. 
  • In severe cases in babies the fontanelle might sink in, and both babies and children will have a sunken look to their eyes. 
  • Babies have fewer wet nappies and children go to the toilet less. 
  • The more dehydrated they become, the darker their urine is.
  • There are no tears when the child cries,their mouth and tongue seem dry and sticky, and they are lethargic and more irritable than usual. 
  • Dehydration can also cause headaches.


  • Treat at home, or ask your pharmacist for advice, unless your child displays serious symptoms (severe lethargy, abdominal pain, blood in the stool) or she’s been vomiting for more than 24 hours. 
  • In this case see a doctor.


  • Try to avoid dehydration by getting your child to drink a few sips of water every few minutes during illness.
  • When they are not ill they must also drink water frequently, especially in the hot summer months. 
  • Some primary school teachers even allow children to keep their water bottles on their desks. 
  • If your child has been sick you can get rehydration formulas from the pharmacy.


An abnormal increase in the frequency and liquidity of the stools.


  • Frequent runny stools.
  • Sometimes accompained by vomiting.


  • Treat at home unless there is blood in the stool or your child shows signs of dehydration. 


  • Make your child as comfortable as possible if she's feeling sick. 
  • Keep giving her water even if she only takes a little at a time.

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