Dehydration happens when your body doesn’t have as much water as it needs. Without the proper amount of water, your body will not function properly. You can have mild, moderate, or severe dehydration depending on how much fluid is missing from your body.
It’s normal to lose water from your body every day from sweating, breathing, going to the bathroom, and saliva. Usually you replace the lost liquid by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. If you lose too much water or don’t drink and eat enough, you may get dehydrated.
You can lose excess water from:
- A fever
- Excessive sweating
- Excessive urinating (Diabetes and some medications like water pills — also called diuretics — can make you pee more often.)
You may not replace the water you lose because:
- You’re busy and forget to drink enough.
- You don’t realize you’re thirsty.
- You don’t feel like drinking because you have a sore throat or mouth sores, or you’re sick to your stomach.
Signs of mild or moderate dehydration include:
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Not urinating very much
- Dark yellow urine
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
Signs of severe dehydration include:
- Not peeing or having very dark yellow pee
- Very dry skin
- Feeling dizzy
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Sunken eyes
- Sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion or irritability
Symptoms for babies and young children can be different than for adults:
- Dry mouth and tongue
- No tears when crying
- Dry diapers for 3 hours
- Sunken eyes, cheeks, soft spot on the top of the skull
- Sleepiness, lack of energy, or irritability
The only effective treatment for dehydration is to replace lost fluids and lost electrolytes. The best approach to dehydration treatment depends on age, the severity of dehydration and its cause.
Mild dehydration can be treated at home with oral fluids. Moderate dehydration on the other hand will require a visit to the urgent care for medications such as anti-nausea meds and likely IV (intravenous) fluids. For the rare cases of severe dehydration, an emergency room visit will be required.
Remember to drink fluids often during these hot summer months. If you start to experience any symptoms of dehydration, don’t hesitate to visit ExpressMD for evaluation and treatment.