Recognizing the Signs of Dehydration

Although it is normal to lose a certain amount of fluid during the day, through sweat, tears and urine, it is important to make sure that you know how to recognize the onset of dehydration. What starts as an intense thirst or dry mouth could quickly progress into fatigue, dizziness or, in extreme cases, even organ failure. The best way to prevent dehydration is to ensure that you intake enough water during the day—especially when you are engaging in physically demanding activities or you have fallen ill.

Some of the most common signs of dehydration include:

  • Having an abnormally dry or sticky mouth
  • Producing little to no tears when crying
  • Only producing a small amount of urine
  • Light-headedness, dizziness or fatigue
  • Irritability or being unable to concentrate
  • Having dry skin or eyes that look sunken in
  • Severe muscle cramps or heart palpitations

Understanding the Causes of Dehydration

While the most common cause of dehydration is failing to consume enough fluids during the day, other causes could include

  • heat exhaustion
  • excessive vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • high blood sugar
  • prolonged periods of exercise or physical exertion
  • alcohol consumption.

If you notice that you or another person has exhibited signs of dehydration, you should make sure that you have plenty of water on hand.

If you are dealing with a more serious case of dehydration, you should call 911 immediately. If dehydration is not properly and promptly addressed, it is possible that the victim could experience coma, organ failure or even death. For this reason, you should always take this situation seriously. With early intervention, even severe dehydration can be treated with proper medical attention.

It is particularly important to keep an eye on children when they are doing any sort of physical activities, especially when they are out in the sun. Make sure you give them plenty of water.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.