DateAugust 13, 2013
commentNo comment by Author, Razvan Stancea

How many times throughout the day do you or your children comment that you’re feeling thirsty? There are several reasons that we might make that statement. It could be actual thirst, just wanting a sip of water. Sometimes, especially with kids, it can be a comment made when feeling bored. However, feeling thirsty can also be the first sign of dehydration.

Dangers of Dehydration

Water makes up over half of an individual’s body weight. It is essential for making sure that the body can perform to the best of its abilities. We lose this fluid each day through urine, breathing, sweating, and bowel movements. This amount is increased when an individual is sweating more on a hot day, when exercising, or when running a fever.

Dehydration is what happens when the body is releasing more fluid than it is taking in. It occurs when an individual isn’t getting enough fluids or is losing too much fluid. This causes the body to lose its ability to function properly.

Early Signs of Dehydration

When signs of dehydration are immediately noticed, it’s a situation that can be rectified by taking in more fluids. The initial sign of dehydration is thirst. Unfortunately, many of us will not take this sign seriously. When thirst begins, the body is missing about 2% of the total amount of fluid it needs. These are the signs of mild to moderate dehydration:

  • Thirst
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • A decrease in urine output
  • Mild headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduced appetite

What should you do when you notice that you are experiencing mild to moderate dehydration? Simply replenishing your fluids is normally enough to relieve the symptoms. Carrying a reusable water bottle with you is a great way to remind you to drink water frequently throughout the day. It’s important to carry drinks with you when caring for children. While we can usually notice the signs of dehydration in ourselves, a child may not be able to express themselves as well when they’re experiencing the symptoms.

Continued Signs of Dehydration

If fluids are not replenished in the body, the symptoms of dehydration will worsen. As the symptoms progress, the need for water becomes more serious. The following symptoms occur as the total amount of fluid is reduced by around 5%.

  • Extreme thirst
  • Less sweating
  • Less urinating, darker color of urine
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Irritability, or fussiness for children
  • Cramping

Consumption of fluids will usually resolve these symptoms. If the symptoms continue, medical attention may be needed.

When Dehydration Becomes an Emergency

As symptoms of dehydration continue to worsen, it becomes an emergency situation. At this point, 10% of the body’s fluids are lost. The following symptoms are shown at this time.

  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Inability to take in fluids
  • Continuous diarrhea
  • Unconsciousness
  • Little to no urination
  • Muscle spasms

If these symptoms are experienced, medical attention should be sought immediately. Without medical attention, the body will begin to shut down as organs lose their ability to function. It’s important to recognize these symptoms and replenish fluids at the first signs of dehydration.

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