When a person’s body is lacking enough fluid, dehydration can quickly become a life-threatening condition. Dehydration can result from vomiting, diarrhea, not drinking, sweating or urinating too much or any combination of these conditions. Severe dehydration is a serious condition that requires medical attention.
Infants and small children are much more likely to become dehydrated than older children or adults, because they can lose relatively more fluid quickly.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:
Thirst - Thirst is the most common and earliest symptom of dehydration in babies, children and adults. This may be extreme in cases of severe dehydration.
Dryness - Dryness of the mouth, a lack of tears in the eyes when crying or blinking and dryness in the nose are early symptoms of dehydration in children.
Lack of Urination - Mild dehydration in your child may cause less frequent urination. If the urine is dark yellow or orange colored, or your child stops urinating, these are symptoms of severe dehydration.
Skin Changes - If your child's skin becomes shriveled or does not bounce back or if your child is not sweating despite warm temperatures, these are serious symptoms of dehydration that require urgent medical treatment.
Mood Changes - Dehydration can cause sudden mood changes in children, such as irritability, fussiness and crying. If your child becomes confused or delirious, this is a medical emergency.
Weakness - Children may become weak, faint or dizzy from dehydration. This is a situation requiring medical attention.
Dehydration can become dangerous quickly; always consult your pediatrician or physician. Get immediate medical care if you develop severe signs and symptoms such as extreme thirst, a lack of urination, shriveled skin, dizziness and confusion.
Treat children and older adults with greater caution. Call your family doctor right away if your loved one:
Develops severe diarrhea, with or without vomiting or fever
Has bloody stool
Has had moderate diarrhea for three days or more
Can't keep down fluids
Is irritable or disoriented and much sleepier or less active than usual
Has any of the signs or symptoms of mild or moderate dehydration