The simple trick to find out if you and your kids are seriously dehydrated

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  • Feeling thirsty is normally the most obvious sign you need to drink some more water, but there's another way very simple way to find out if you're dehydrated.

    As the weather heats up, everyone will be taking extra precautions to ensure their skin, and their children’s skin, is protected with the best suncream.

    But it’s also important to make sure you are drinking enough liquids, as becoming dehydrated can be very dangerous and consuming lots of ice lollies isn’t going to cut it…

    Although most people can tell if they need a drink because they feel thirsty, younger children might not be able to communicate this as easily.

    This is when a simple and easy trick could come in handy – pinching your child’s skin!

    If you pinch the skin on the back of your hand or on the abdomen with your thumb and index finger and it does not spring back instantly, it is a sign you are dehydrated.

    fruit in waterAdding fresh fruit to water is a fun way to encourage the kids to drink more

    According to Dr Ross Perry, an NHS GP and medical director of CosmedicsUK, this is a more common technique to use on adults but it can also work on children. However, he stresses that this is a ‘late sign’ of dehydration and other warning signs are more obvious.

    The skin pinch trick works because of your skin’s turgor. Dr Perry explains: ‘It is the elasticity in the skin and better the hydration the more springy the skin is when pinched.’

    Other symptoms of dehydration in children include dry, cracked lips and a dry mouth; cold or dry skin; and low energy levels, seeming very weak or limp.

    If you think your child is dehydrated, Dr Perry says to encourage them to drink more water and deal with any other causes such as diarrhoea or vomiting.

    Dr Perry stresses that it’s much better to avoid becoming dehydrated in the first place, rather than focussing on the remedy.

    He said: ‘Prevention is better than cure so always carry more water than you think you need and if urine less frequent and darker or smelly then drink more water or fluids until it clear.’

    It is recommended that adults drink eight glasses of water a day. Children aged five to eight years old should have around one litre or water a day and children aged eight to 13 years old should drink around 1.5 litres.

    Over the age of 13, your child should be drinking roughly the same as you, around 2 litres or eight glasses water a day.

    Although juice, tea, coffee and other drinks can help towards your daily fluid intake, water is the most effective source of hydration.

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