HealthSheets™


Discharge Instructions for Hypokalemia (Pediatric)

Your child has been diagnosed with hypokalemia, which is a low level of potassium in the blood. Potassium helps the nerve and muscle cells function, including those in the heart. A low level of potassium in the blood can cause abnormal heart rhythms and even heart attack. Here's what you need to know about home care.

Diet changes

  • Encourage your child to eat more of these potassium-rich foods:

    • Bananas

    • Milk

    • Oranges

    • Tomatoes 

    • Spinach

    • Dried fruit

    • Cantaloupe

    • Peas

    • Dry beans

    • Potatoes

    • Sweet potatoes

    • Avocados

  • Give your child a potassium supplement as directed by the healthcare provider.

  • After strenuous exercise or any activity that causes your child to sweat a lot, give your child a drink that has high levels of potassium, like coconut water, orange juice, or low-sodium vegetable juices

  • Be sure to give your child food or drinks that contain potassium if he or she has diarrhea or vomiting.

  • Help your child avoid foods that are high in salt. Avoid canned and prepared foods that are high in salt.

Medicine

  • Make sure your child takes all medicines exactly as directed.

  • Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and over-the counter medicines your child is taking. This includes herbal preparations.

Follow-up

  • Make a follow-up appointment, or as directed.

  • Have your child’s potassium levels checked regularly.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments. Your child’s healthcare provider needs to monitor your child’s condition closely.

When to call your child's healthcare provider

Call your child’s provider right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • Fatigue or weakness

  • Rapid, irregular heartbeat

  • Shortness of breath or chest pain

  • Muscle cramps, spasms, or twitching

  • Paralysis

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