Dehydration happens when your body loses more fluid than it gains. You lose fluids when you sweat, vomit, or have diarrhea. Older adults retain fewer fluids in general, so dehydration can be common. It’s easy to avoid dehydration with the proper steps, but you should also know what dehydration consists of. AFC Urgent Care Waltham can provide you with the treatment and resources you need to maintain hydration. In severe cases, it’s best to go to an emergency room where you can receive an IV.
Symptoms of Dehydration
The first noticeable symptom of dehydration is a general thirst. This can be easily treated by simply drinking water. As dehydration progresses and is left untreated, symptoms begin to get worse. In adults, more severe symptoms of dehydration include:
- Extreme thirst
- Less urination
- Urine that is a dark color
In children they may experience crying without tears, fewer wet diapers, and sunken eyes. It’s important to monitor for these symptoms in children as they may not be able to communicate how they are feeling properly.
You should seek medical attention if you or a loved one have had diarrhea for over 24 hours, can’t keep fluids down, or are disoriented and sleepier than usual.
Causes of Dehydration
Different conditions can cause dehydration, but in general, it may just be caused by general neglecting drinking water. Additional conditions that may cause dehydration include vomiting or diarrhea, fevers, excessive sweating, or increased urination due to uncontrolled diabetes. It’s important to replace the fluids you have lost while exercising or doing strenuous activities.
Infants, the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, or those who work outside are at higher risk of becoming dehydrated. Untreated dehydration can lead to heat-related injuries, kidney problems, or seizures if not properly taken care of.
Prevention & Treatment
The best way for you to treat early dehydration is by replacing the lost fluids with water and electrolytes. More severe cases of dehydration require emergency care and an IV. OTC rehydration solutions are available for infants and babies.
In order to prevent dehydration, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat foods that are high in water. Let general thirst be your guide for early dehydration. If you are exercising, working outside when it’s hot out, are sick with a fever, or are vomiting and have diarrhea, be sure to replace your fluids frequently. Drinking water throughout the day can help keep your hydration high.