By Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, BHMS
Sometimes referred to as the ‘forgotten nutrient’, electrolytes are absolutely essential to our health, especially in kids.
Unfortunately, children are more vulnerable to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
With the above points in mind, it is important to take action to prevent pediatric electrolyte and fluid imbalance.
Toddlers and younger children may not be able to tell you when they are experiencing symptoms of dehydration. Therefore, it is our responsibility to look out for the signs that indicate an imbalance of water and electrolytes in the body.
Some of the mild early signs and symptoms are:
Some of the severe symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include:
If you notice any of these symptoms, consult the pediatrician immediately.
Some doctors recommend that parents should keep in their homes some ready-to-use electrolyte fluids especially formulated for children.
These usually contain a mixture of electrolytes and carbohydrates.
Some of the commonly used products include:
These mixes are easy and convenient to use. All you have to do is mix the powder with the recommended amount of water. They provide an instant source of fluids as well as electrolyte salts.
There is no doubt that these pediatric electrolyte formulations are helpful in cases of moderate vomiting and diarrhea. However:
A loss of water and salt from the body may create an imbalance of numerous electrolytes. This includes sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chlorine, bicarbonate and numerous trace ions.
To rehydrate a child, it is best to restore the balance of all these pediatric electrolytes.
For an quick and complete source of electrolytes, the ocean may be the best place to look.
Sea water contains a similar concentration of electrolytes as are found the body. Plus, a sea mineral concentrate is free of any additives or preservatives.
To prepare a sea mineral electrolyte solution, add half of a teaspoon of Ionic Sea Minerals and 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt to a liter of lemonade or other fruit mix.
Crystal Light Pure Lemonade may be a good choice for flavoring, as it contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.
Fruits and vegetables are a good source of mineral electrolytes. They are also nutritious, and are filled with water.
Fruits like watermelons, limes, grapes and bananas are rich in potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium, nutrients that are needed to help your child’s body grow and develop.
A daily bowl of mixed fruit will provide your child with fiber, nutrients and electrolytes.
Items such as spinach, kale, tomatoes and pumpkin are another good source of electrolytes.
It is best to include at least three servings of veggies a day in a child’s diet. It could be in the form of salads, soups or uncooked fruits and vegetables.
Electrolytes are important, not just in adults but also in children.
When replacing electrolytes in children, it is best to opt for natural sources that are healthy as well as nutritious, ones that serve the purpose of restoring both salts and water content in the body.
Natural sources are the best pediatric electrolytes.