BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuDehydrationVomiting - dehydration; Diarrhea - dehydration; Diabetes - dehydration; Stomach flu - dehydration; Gastroenteritis - dehydration; Excessive sweating - dehydrationDehydration occurs when your body does not have as much water and fluids as it needs.Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe, based on how much of your body's fluid is lost or not replaced. Severe dehydration is a life-threatening emergency. Causes You can become dehydrated if you lose too much fluid, do not drink enough water or fluids, or both. Your body may lose a lot of fluid from:Sweating too much, for example, from exercising in hot weather Fever Vomiting or diarrhea Urinating too much (uncontrolled diabetes or some medicines, like diuretics, can cause you to urinate a lot) You might not drink enough fluids because:You do not feel like eating or drinking because you are sick You are nauseated You have a sore throat or mouth soresSore throatPharyngitis, or sore throat, is discomfort, pain, or scratchiness in the throat. It often makes it painful to swallow.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Mouth soresTrench mouth is an infection that causes swelling (inflammation) and ulcers in the gums (gingivae). The term trench mouth comes from World War I, wh...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Older adults and people with certain diseases, such as diabetes, are also at higher risk for dehydration. Symptoms Signs of mild to moderate dehydration include: Thirst Dry or sticky mouth Not urinating much Darker yellow urine Dry, cool skin Headache Muscle cramps Signs of severe dehydration include:Not urinating, or very dark yellow or amber-colored urine Dry, shriveled skin Irritability or confusion Dizziness or lightheadedness Rapid heartbeat Rapid breathing Sunken eyes Listlessness Shock (not enough blood flow through the body) Unconsciousness or delirium Exams and Tests Your health care provider will look for these signs of dehydration:Low blood pressure. Low blood pressureLow blood pressure occurs when blood pressure is much lower than normal. This means the heart, brain, and other parts of the body do not get enough ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Blood pressure that drops when you stand up after lying down. White finger tips that do not return to a pink color after your provider presses the fingertip. After your provider presses the fingert...The capillary nail refill test is a quick test done on the nail beds. It is used to monitor dehydration and the amount of blood flow to tissue....ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Skin that is not as elastic as normal. When the provider pinches it into a fold, it may slowly sag back into place. Normally, skin springs back right away. Skin that is not as elastic as normalSkin turgor is the skin's elasticity. It is the ability of skin to change shape and return to normal.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Rapid heart rate. Rapid heart rateA bounding pulse is a strong throbbing felt over one of the arteries in the body. It is due to a forceful heartbeat.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Your provider may do lab tests such as:Blood tests to check kidney function Kidney functionThe creatinine blood test measures the level of creatinine in the blood. This test is done to see how well your kidneys are working. Creatinine can ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Urine tests to see what may be causing dehydration Urine testsUrine specific gravity is a laboratory test that shows the total concentration of all chemical particles in the urine.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Other tests to see what may be causing dehydration (blood sugar test for diabetes) Blood sugar test for diabetesDiabetes is a long-term (chronic) disease in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Treatment To treat dehydration:Try sipping water or sucking on ice cubes. Try drinking water or sports drinks that contain electrolytes. Do not take salt tablets. They can cause serious complications. Ask your provider what you should eat if you have diarrhea. What you should eat if you have diarrheDiarrhea is the passage of loose or watery stool. For some, diarrhea is mild and will go away within a few days. For others, it may last longer. I...Read Article Now Book Mark Article For more severe dehydration or heat emergency, you may need to stay in a hospital and receive fluid through a vein (IV). The provider will also treat the cause of the dehydration.Heat emergencyHeat emergencies or illnesses are caused by exposure to extreme heat and sun. Heat illnesses can be prevented by being careful in hot, humid weather...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Dehydration caused by a stomach virus should get better on its own after a few days. Stomach virusViral gastroenteritis is present when a virus causes an infection of the stomach and intestine. The infection can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. It...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Outlook (Prognosis) If you notice signs of dehydration and treat it quickly, you should recover completely. Possible Complications Untreated severe dehydration may cause:Death Permanent brain damage SeizuresSeizuresA seizure is the physical changes in behavior that occurs during an episode of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The term "seizure" is often...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article When to Contact a Medical Professional You should call 911 or the local emergency number if: The person loses consciousness at any time. There is any other change in the person's alertness (for example, confusion or seizures). The person has a fever over 102°F (38.8°C). You notice symptoms of heatstroke (such as rapid pulse or rapid breathing). The person's condition does not improve or gets worse despite treatment. Prevention To prevent dehydration:Drink plenty of fluids every day, even when you are well. Drink more when the weather is hot or you are exercising. If anyone in your family is ill, pay attention to how much they are able to drink. Pay close attention to children and older adults. Anyone with a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea should drink plenty of fluids. DO NOT wait for signs of dehydration. If you think you or someone in your family may become dehydrated, call your provider. Do this before the person becomes dehydrated. Open ReferencesReferencesKenefick RW, Cheuvront SN, Leon LR, O'Brien KK. Dehydration and rehydration. In: Auerbach PS, Cushing TA, Harris NS, eds. Auerbach's Wilderness Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 89.Padlipsky P, McCormick T. Infectious diarrheal disease and dehydration. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 172.AllVideoImagesTogSkin turgor - illustration A decrease in skin turgor is indicated when the skin (on the back of the hand for an adult or on the abdomen for a child) is pulled up for a few seconds and does not return to its original state. A decrease in skin turgor is a late sign of dehydration.Skin turgorillustrationSkin turgor - illustration A decrease in skin turgor is indicated when the skin (on the back of the hand for an adult or on the abdomen for a child) is pulled up for a few seconds and does not return to its original state. A decrease in skin turgor is a late sign of dehydration.Skin turgorillustrationRelated Information Nausea and vomiting - adults(Symptoms)Diarrhea(Symptoms)Urination - excessive amount(Symptoms)Pharyngitis - sore throat(Condition)Trench mouth(Condition)Seizures(Symptoms) Review Date: 8/10/2021 Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. 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