Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration? Lets get right to the reason you’re probably on this page, and then we’ll dig a little deeper. Here’s a list of the most notable dehydration symptoms:
- Muscle cramps
- Dry Skin
- Dry mouth/lips
- High body temperature
If you notice any of these symptoms, especially with an abnormally dark urine color you should immediately take the following steps.
- Stop your activity and get out of the sun.
- Loosen your clothes.
- Sit down and rest.
- Take sips of water.
Even though you’re worried about dehydration, don’t gulp the water to replenish your body; it can make you sick. You want to slowly add the water back to your body to prevent dehydration. At this stage, it may still be early, and not severe as long as you watch the symptoms of dehydration, and respond accordingly. You may still want to call for medical attention especially if the symptoms get worse.
Learning the dehydration signs and how to treat someone who is dehydrated can save a life, perhaps even your own.
Are you dehydrated?
One of the first things you should do is take a look at your urine color. The color of your urine can be an early indicator of dehydration. If your urine is a dark yellow color it may be a sign that you are dehydrated. How much water have you drunk today? In general, you should be drinking eight glasses of water a day. If you’re physically active, and sweating, you’ll want to drink additional water. If you do not drink enough water, then your urine becomes over-concentrated with waste, which is why it is a darker yellow urine color.
How to treat dehydration
If you notice any of these symptoms of dehydration, your goal is to cool the person down and seek emergency help. Take the following steps:
- Call an ambulance
- Lay person in the shade and elevate their feet
- Give sips of water if the person is conscious
- Remove clothing as much as possible
- Apply ice/cold pack (wrapped in a towel or cloth) to skin to help cool their body
- Monitor breathing
Chances are, if you are the one suffering dehydration, you’ll need someone else to help you, but if you’re by yourself, hopefully you can at least get yourself out of the sun, call for help and get some water.
What are the causes of dehydration?
Now, of course, exercise and sun exposure are not the only reasons for dehydration. Anytime you lose fluid from your body and don’t replenish the fluids, you can get dehydrated. Illness is another common reason people get dehydrated. When you are sick and experiencing diarrhea and vomiting, you expel a lot of body fluids. It can be difficult to replace these fluids if you continue to be sick and/or find yourself getting sick from ingesting any food or water. If you are sick and vomiting, it is best to sip water slowly over time.
Other causes of dehydration can vary. Taking any stimulants, such as caffeine or more severe stimulants can cause you body to lose fluids. So a cup of coffee or a cola are not recommended drinks to replenish your body fluids. Any sugary drink for that matter is not a good way to quench your thirst and prevent dehydration. This is because for every molecule of sugar, it takes a molecule of water to break it down.
The best cure for dehydration.
The best cure for dehydration is drinking water. However, if you have sports drinks and other fluids designed for re-hydrating the body, those can work even better since they also replace electrolytes.
Dehydration Urine Color Chart
The following Dehydration Urine Color Chart will help you use your urine color as an indicator of your level of dehydration and what actions you should take to help return your body back to a normal level of hydration.
We have a downloadable version of the dehydration chart if you would like to print it out.
Dehydration Urine Color Chart
|Doing ok. You're probably well hydrated. Drink water as normal.|
|You're just fine. You could stand to drink a little water now, maybe a small glass of water.|
|Drink about 1/2 bottle of water (1/4 liter) within the hour, or drink a whole bottle (1/2 liter) of water if you're outside and/or sweating.|
|Drink about 1/2 bottle of water (1/4 liter) right now, or drink a whole bottle (1/2 liter) of water if you're outside and/or sweating.|
|Drink 2 bottles of water right now (1 liter). If your urine is darker than this and/or red or brown, then dehydration may not be your problem. See a doctor.|