What is dehydration?

Dehydration is a state of negative fluid balance; you’re losing more body fluids than you’re taking in.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

Some signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

What causes dehydration?

The imbalance of water intake with water outtake causes dehydration.  Normally, dehydration is seen in persons experiencing vomiting or diarrhea (outtake) or who have trouble keeping water down (intake).  Stomach flu (“gastroenteritis”), which often causes vomiting and diarrhea, is one of the leading causes of dehydration.

Additionally, certain populations – children under five, the elderly, those with decreased cognition or a lack of access to water – are at the largest risk of dehydration.

How do you treat dehydration?

The first and preferred method of treating dehydration is through oral rehydration therapy, by drinking liquids with salt/sugar in small sips.

For severe dehydration, IV hydration may be necessary to replenish lost electrolytes and fluids.

When should I see a doctor because of dehydration?

Any time you are concerned about dehydration, or you have the above symptoms, you should visit a doctor. 

For those in the aforementioned high risk groups, visiting a doctor immediately is vital to recovery.