What is dehydration?
Dehydration is a condition that happens when the body does not have enough fluids or water to function properly. Dehydration can range from mild to severe. If you don’t do anything about it, it will get worse and become a bigger problem. Babies, young children, and older adults are more likely to get dehydrated.
Causes of dehydration
One of the main causes of dehydration is not drinking enough water. When you don’t drink enough fluids for an extended period of time, it’s easy for your body to become dehydrated. Other factors such as excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, diabetes, and certain medications can also increase your risk of becoming dehydrated.
Symptoms of dehydration
The most common symptom of dehydration is feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth, lips, and tongue. Other signs include:
- dark-colored urine or little to no urination
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- dry skin
- muscle cramps
- rapid breathing
- confusion or irritability
- sunken eyes
Symptoms for babies and young children include:
- a dry mouth and tongue
- no tears when crying
- a sunken soft spot on the head
- sunken eyes or cheeks
- no wet diapers for 3 hours
- sleepiness or irritability
Treatment for dehydration
If you think you may be dehydrated, it’s important to rehydrate right away by drinking plenty of water or other fluids with electrolytes, such as sports drinks, coconut water, or oral rehydration solutions like Gatorade or Pedialyte (for infants).
You should also consider eating foods high in water content, such as cucumbers and melons, to help replenish lost fluids. In some cases, medical attention may be necessary if dehydration becomes severe.
How to prevent dehydration
The key to preventing dehydration is drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. It’s important to make sure you are drinking enough, especially when it’s hot outside or if you are engaging in physical activity. You should also avoid consuming too much caffeine and alcohol because they can cause dehydration as well. Additionally, eating foods with high water content, like fruits and vegetables, can help keep your body hydrated.
When to see a doctor
If you are experiencing severe symptoms of dehydration, such as extreme thirst, dizziness, or confusion, you should seek medical attention right away. Babies and young children can become severely dehydrated in a short amount of time. So it’s important to act quickly if they show any signs of dehydration.