A new clinical scale for assessing dehydration from diarrhea, the second most common cause of death in children 5 years and younger, could save millions of lives globally. But questions remain.
Dehydration: Assessing Kids Accurately, or DHAKA, uses general appearance, tears, skin turgor, and respiration depth to determine a rating. A score of 4 or more, out of 12, represents severe dehydration. 1 or less indicates no dehydration. DHAKA’s creators call it an improvement over current WHO standards. But at least one external observer says more study is needed before we can be certain of the new tool’s validity.