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Dehydration can occur if a person is not drinking enough fluids. You can also become dehydrated when a large amount of fluid is lost through vomiting, diarrhea (or both). Other factors contribute to dehydration as well (confined spaces, hot outdoors, humidity, sickness, radiation, strenuous exercise, acclimatisation, and age).

When you fell thirsty, you are already dehydrating! In cases of dehydration, it’s important to replenish fluid losses as quickly as possible.

Signs and Symptoms….

Mild to Moderate :

  • Tongue starts to do dry,
  • few to no tears when crying,
  • rapid heart rate,
  • fussiness in infants or children,
  • muscle cramps
  • irritability
  • cravings
  • headaches
  • no wet diapers for 6 hours in infants,
  • no urination in 8 hours for children

Severe :

  • very dry mouth (looks “sticky” inside),
  • dry and wrinkly skin,
  • inactivity,
  • decreased alertness,
  • excessive sleepiness,
  • sunken eyes,
  • heartburn
  • joint and back pain
  • migraines or bad headaches
  • constipation
  • soft sunken spot on top of an infant’s head,
  • deep or rapid breathing,
  • rapid or weakened pulse,
  • no urination for 8 hours or more for an infant
  • no urination for 10 hours or more for a child.

What to do :

Mild dehydration can often be treated at home or the office, or school.

If a person has no diarrhea or vomiting, continue feeding a normal diet.

If the person is vomiting, stop milk products and solid foods and :

  • Give the person water, ice, clear broth, flat non-carbonated soda, ice pops, ice chips, or an oral electrolyte solution (a solution that restores lost fluids and minerals). For Infants, give a tablespoon of electrolyte solution every 15 to 20 minutes.

Seek Emergency Medical Help if :

  • the person shows any sign of severe dehydration
  • is unable to keep clear fluids down

Think Prevention!

Frequent hand washing is key to avoiding many of the illnesses that can lead to dehydration.

Encourage frequent, small amounts of fluids to avoid dehydration during illness.

If vomiting occurs, use only clear fluids to rehydrate.

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