Westside Regional Medical Center
954.473.6600
Founded in 1974, our facility provides comprehensive healthcare to the residents of Broward County.

Medical Emergencies: Dehydration in Young Children

ER plantation

Young children are at a high risk of dehydration, particularly during the hot summer months in Florida. Moderate to severe dehydration in an infant or child is considered a medical emergency that requires a prompt trip to the ER. At Westside Regional Medical Center, our emergency care team provides specialized treatment to the youngest of patients in our child-friendly ER.

Signs and Symptoms
When a child has mild to moderate dehydration, he or she may complain of thirst, sleepiness, or headache. Young children may have constipation, decreased urine output, and dizziness. Babies may not have wet diapers for three hours. At this point, parents are advised to call the family doctor for guidance. Other signs and symptoms indicate a need to visit the nearest ER or call 911 right away. These include sunken eyes, a sunken fontanel, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, fever, and lack of tears when crying. Unconsciousness, extreme fussiness, and lethargy may be apparent.

Causes and Risk Factors
Infants and young children are already at a high risk of dehydration, but certain issues can raise this risk further. Illnesses can lead to dehydration, particularly when they involve vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. Older children may become dehydrated when playing outdoors during hot weather. Since children may not readily drink as much water as they need, parents must frequently remind them to drink non-caffeinated fluids throughout the day.

Treatments and Prevention
A family doctor may offer guidance on treating mild dehydration at home with an oral rehydration solution. If the condition is severe enough to warrant emergency care, then the ER team can start the child on intravenous fluids and salts. Of course, prevention is always preferable. Parents can give a child extra water and an oral rehydration solution when the child is at a higher risk of dehydration. If the child is ill or outdoors frequently in hot weather, then taking these steps to prevent dehydration is advisable.

If you think your child could be experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 without delay or head for the nearest ER. Westside Regional Medical Center is a leading provider of kid-friendly emergency care in Plantation, FL, and we feature a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to provide specialized care. For general healthcare information, parents can speak with a registered nurse at (954) 722-9933.


What to Expect When You Check In to the ER

A visit to the ER is usually an unexpected event. However, there are a few steps you can take to prepare for an unanticipated visit to the ER at Westside Regional Medical Center. Keep your family’s medical information organized and up-to-date. The ER medical providers will need to know about underlying health conditions, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and previous history of major illnesses, surgeries, or hospitalizations. Keeping this information close at hand can help make your visit to the emergency care department proceed smoothly.

Going Through Triage

Triage plays an important role in the emergency room. Since ER patients are not seen on a “first come, first served” basis, triage allows ER physicians to quickly identify which patients are in need of rapid medical care. For example, a patient who is brought to the ER with signs of stroke will need to be evaluated and treated sooner than a patient who likely has an ankle sprain. During triage, the nurse will evaluate your vital signs, assess your overall condition, and ask you some questions about your symptoms.

Answering Basic Questions

In addition to meeting with the triage nurse, you’ll talk to a registration clerk. The registration clerk will ask you for basic information such as your current contact information, emergency contact, and health insurance carrier. If you have a non-emergent condition, you’ll likely be registered before you see a doctor. However, the registration process does not delay your evaluation or treatment.

Receiving Medical Treatment

When you are escorted into the treatment area, a healthcare provider will ask you more detailed questions about your health complaint, such as when your symptoms first developed and how severe your discomfort is. You can expect to undergo a physical exam and perhaps some diagnostic tests such as imaging scans or laboratory tests. Then, your doctor will explain your diagnosis, recommend an appropriate treatment plan, and either discharge you or admit you to the hospital for further monitoring, testing, and treatment.

The Emergency Department at Westside Regional Medical Center is committed to seeing emergent patients as quickly as possible. Our modern ER serving Plantation, FL, features a private emergency room for children to help them feel at ease with the diagnostic and treatment process. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately; otherwise, you can call a registered nurse at our hospital at (954) 722-9933.


Taking a Look at Some of the Lesser Known Symptoms of Heart Attack

In many cases, your body is able to tell you that something is wrong. A respiratory infection can cause congestion and dehydration can cause dizziness, for instance. But quite often, patients report symptoms of serious medical problems that they had mistaken for being symptoms of a far less severe condition. This may be the case for some heart attack patients, especially when those patients are women. At Westside Regional Medical Center, our cardiac care team encourages our neighbors to become aware of the signs and symptoms of heart attack. Early intervention is crucial for saving lives and reducing permanent damage to the heart muscle.

Unusual Pain or Discomfort

The classic sign of a heart attack is chest pain, pressure, or the sensation of heaviness. But many heart attack patients never experience chest pain or they may suffer from pain that extends from the chest to other areas. A heart attack can cause pain or discomfort of the upper back and shoulders, jaw, arms, and upper abdomen. Some heart attack survivors mistake the upper abdominal pain for being a sign of heartburn or indigestion.

Shortness of Breath

A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery is blocked, which cuts off the blood supply to the heart. This places the heart under considerable stress. As a result, heart attack patients may develop unusual shortness of breath, such as respiration difficulties that occur despite the absence of physical activity. Some individuals may report fatigue and shortness of breath in the days or weeks leading up to a heart attack.

Flu-Like Symptoms

It’s possible for a patient to mistake the signs of a heart attack as indicating a flu or similar ailment. Bouts of recurrent nausea and perhaps vomiting may be indicative of heart trouble, particularly when accompanied by lightheadedness, cold sweats, chest pain, and other symptoms of a heart attack.

Westside Regional Medical Center is pleased to provide a comprehensive Cardiovascular Program for residents of Plantation, FL, and the surrounding areas. From emergency care to cardiac rehabilitation, our cardiac care providers are committed to saving lives through rapid, protocols-driven interventions. For medical emergencies, please call 911 immediately. Call (954) 473-6600 to speak with a registered nurse about general healthcare information.


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