Dehydration takes place when your body is losing more fluids than it is taking in, and it has a variety of signs and symptoms that will help you recognize when you are becoming dehydrated. It is important to act quickly when you begin to become dehydrated to prevent it from worsening because mild dehydration can be easily treated at home, but severe dehydration requires hospitalization.
Causes of Dehydration
There are two major external factors that cause dehydration. The first is sickness that results in vomiting and/or diarrhea, both of which force the body to lose a lot of its water. The second is sweating without replacing the lost fluid, commonly during exercise or hot weather. Of course, any other situation in which more water is leaving the body than entering it over a period of time is likely to result in dehydration.
Signs of Dehydration: Thirst
One of the earliest signs of dehydration is increased thirst, which is your body’s way of letting you know that it is not getting enough water. Over time, your mouth is likely to feel dry, and your saliva may get thick and sticky. At this stage, just drink some water to replenish fluids, and you will be fine.
Signs of Dehydration: Urine Color and Frequency
Another good indicator of dehydration is found in your urine. The darker yellow or amber it is, the more dehydrated you are. In addition, the less urine you produce, the more dehydrated you are. This is a good way for you to regularly monitor your fluid levels and adjust your water intake accordingly. In addition, it is a good way to tell if infants (who have a hard time communicating thirst) are dehydrated.
Signs of Dehydration: Dizziness, Lightheadedness, and Fatigue
As dehydration worsens, a common symptom is dizziness, or a lightheaded feeling, especially right when standing up. In addition, the lightheadedness might persist even while standing, and the body may feel a general tiredness and fatigue.
Treating Mild Symptoms of Dehydration: Fluid Intake
The main way to treat any of the above signs and symptoms of dehydration, or to prevent them entirely, is by drinking water. Sports drinks like Gatorade are also good choices, as they replenish minerals lost by sweating. It is important to not drink caffeine or alcohol, as they both (although they are liquids) will cause your body to lose water because they are diuretics. By taking care of your fluid intake, you can prevent further symptoms such as fever, delirium, and unconsciousness, all of which need to be treated immediately by medical professionals.