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Dehydration happens when your body doesn’t have as much water as it needs. Without enough water, your body can’t function properly. Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how much fluid is missing from your body.

Causes of Dehydration

It’s normal to lose water from your body every day through sweating, breathing, urination, and bowel movements, as well as through tears and saliva. Usually, you replace the lost liquid by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. However, you can become dehydrated if you lose too much water or don’t drink and eat enough.

You can lose more water than usual with:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Frequent urination (caused by diabetes and some medications like diuretics)

You may not replace the water you lose because:

  • You’re busy and forget to drink enough.
  • You don’t realize you’re thirsty.
  • You don’t feel like drinking due to a sore throat, mouth sores, or nausea.

Dehydration Symptoms

Signs of mild or moderate dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Reduced urination
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps

Signs of severe dehydration include:

  • Little or no urination, or very dark yellow urine
  • Very dry skin
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion, or irritability
  • Fainting

Symptoms for babies and young children can be different from those in adults and include:

  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • No tears when crying
  • Dry diapers for 3 hours
  • Sunken eyes, cheeks, or soft spot on the top of the skull
  • Sleepiness, lack of energy, or irritability


The only effective treatment for dehydration is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. The best approach to dehydration treatment depends on age, the severity of dehydration, and its cause.

Children and adults who are severely dehydrated should be treated by emergency personnel in an emergency room. Salts and fluids delivered intravenously are absorbed quickly and speed recovery.

At Ally Medical Emergency Rooms, we are committed to providing immediate and effective care for dehydration and other medical emergencies. Our team of experienced physicians is ready to treat dehydration with the utmost care and urgency. If you or a loved one shows signs of severe dehydration, visit one of our eight locations for prompt and comprehensive treatment.