Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluids than you are taking into your body. This results in your body not being able to perform its usual functions that require proper fluid intake. If you don’t replace these fluids, you become dehydrated. We lose water and salt daily through vapor from breathing, sweat, urine, and stool.
Causes include poor fluid intake due to illness or mouth sores, or nausea, intense physical activity,hot weather, severe diarrhea or vomiting, fever, sweating, poor fluid intake with increased activity and hot weather, and increased urination due to a medical condition such as diabetes or medications.
Mild to Moderate symptoms include dry, sticky mouth, thirst, decrease in urination,fatigue, no wet diapers for at least 3 hours, few or no tears when crying, dry skin, headache, constipation, dizziness, and muscle cramps.
Severe symptoms are considered a medical emergency. If you experience great thirst, are irritable or confused, feel weak, have a very dry mouth, little or no urination or sweating, eyes look sunken in, a low blood pressure, rapid heart, rapid breathing, tenting of skin, fever, fainting, and a swollen tongue, you need immediate medical attention.
Complications of dehydration include heat exhaustion or heat stroke, swelling of the brain, seizures, low blood volume shock (Hypovolemic Shock), kidney failure, coma and death.
Treatment for kids includes small frequent sips of rehydrating solutions, such as Pedialyte, popsicles, and water. In adults, Gatorade, PowerAde, water, and ice chips are effective. Additionally, wearing loose clothes, air conditioning, fans, cool wet towels, spray bottle with water, avoid alcohol, caffeine. You can also break up exposure to heat by spending 10-20 min in heat then going inside to get cool.
Milk, caffeinated drinks, fruit juices and gelatins don’t relieve dehydration and can worsen diarrhea.