Dehydration

Severe dehydration means:

  • Your mouth and eyes are extremely dry.
  • You pass little or no urine for 12 or more hours.
  • You do not feel alert, or you cannot think clearly.
  • You are too weak or dizzy to stand.
  • You may pass out.

Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and requires emergency treatment. Call 911 or other emergency services immediately.

Moderate dehydration means:

  • You are a lot more thirsty than usual.
  • Your mouth and eyes are drier than usual.
  • Your urine is much darker than usual.
  • You pass little or no urine for 8 or more hours.
  • You feel dizzy when you stand or sit up.

Mild dehydration means:

  • You are more thirsty than usual.
  • Your urine is darker than usual.

Mild to moderate dehydration is treated at home by drinking more fluids. Treatment for moderate to severe dehydration may include IV fluids and a stay in the hospital.

Dehydration is very dangerous for babies, small children, and older adults. It is most dangerous for newborns. Watch closely for early symptoms anytime there is an illness that causes a high fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Last Updated: June 30, 2009

Author: Jan Nissl, RN, BS

Medical Review: Martin Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine & William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine

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