What is dehydration?
Dehydration is a potentially serious condition caused by an inadequate amount of water and other fluids in the body to support normal bodily functions. This can happen when the body is losing more fluid than it is taking in through sweating, or from not being provided with enough water in the first place for the body to function properly. Dehydration is particularly dangerous when it occurs in older adults and young children, although it can affect people of all ages. With young children, vomiting and severe diarrhea are the most common causes of dehydration. For older adults, their bodies naturally have a lower volume of water in their body, but the risk of dehydration can be increased as a result of medications that they are taking or from some medical conditions that they may have. In the case of older adults, a minor illness such as a lung or bladder infection can easily cause dehydration, so they need to monitor their water intake at all times. People of any age can become dehydrated when they aren’t drinking enough water, particularly in hot environments or while performing rigorous activities. In most cases, mild to moderate dehydration is easily treated by drinking extra fluids, however severe dehydration does require immediate medical attention to provide the body with proper fluids and monitor for additional symptoms of more serious conditions that can be caused by dehydration.
How does dehydration develop?
Causing the body to become dehydrated is typically an accident as dehydration can easily develop for many reasons and the risk increases in certain circumstances. One of the most common reasons for dehydration is simply that people don’t drink enough water on an ongoing basis due to their busy lives. Being sick is also a common cause, as eating and drinking may make them feel worse. For people travelling on vacation or out exploring nature, such as hiking or camping, coming by safe drinking water is a common cause of dehydration, particularly if they didn’t pack any clean water with them. Dehydration can be linked to some medical conditions that can cause your body to lose water faster than it would normally. For example, your body loses water and electrolytes through vomiting and diarrhea, particularly in severe cases that come on suddenly. When a person is sick and develops a fever, their body goes through more water than normal, particularly with a high fever. When our bodies sweat, whether from participation in exercise or because of a hot environment, we are losing water to help cool our body down. People who are exercising or in a hot climate will need to increase their water consumption to allow for this extra water loss. Another cause of water loss in the body that can lead to dehydration is through conditions such as diabetes, or certain types of medications, that cause frequent urination.
What are signs of severe dehydration?
The signs and symptoms of dehydration vary by age group, with different symptoms appearing in adults than in young children. The most common symptom people experience for dehydration is feeling thirsty because at that point, they are actually already dehydrated. In infants and young children, the symptoms of severe dehydration include dry tongue and inside of the mouth, no tears coming out when crying, three hours or more with a dry diaper, sunken eyes and cheeks, sunken soft spot on the top of the skull and listless or irritable. The symptoms of dehydration in adults of all ages include extreme thirst, dark-coloured urine, fatigue, dizziness and confusion. Additional symptoms of low blood pressure, increased heart rate and reduced blood flow going out to your extremities are also signs of severe dehydration. Dehydration can be diagnosed by a doctor from the symptoms alone, however they may want to perform a blood or urine test to determine how severe the dehydration is. These tests can also indicate if there are other health concerns as a result of the dehydration such as a urinary tract infection or kidney issues.
When should you go to the urgent care for dehydration?
While most mild to moderate cases of dehydration can be treated at home by increasing your water consumption, severe cases will require medical attention, particularly when it is affecting the individual’s ability to function. AFC Urgent Care Dunedin FL, is here to help treat patients with dehydration, so call us today to get checked out right away. Severe dehydration symptoms that indicate the need for medical attention include the patient being irritable or disoriented, unable to keep fluids down and has bloody or black stools, or if they have had diarrhea for 24 hours or more. With young children and infants, it is often better to err on the side of caution to get them checked out by a doctor if dehydration is suspected so their bodies can get the fluid they need right away. Under medical care, patients may be hooked up to an IV in order to quickly and safely provide the body with the lost fluids by going directly into the bloodstream. Dehydration can be an indicator of heat stroke and severe dehydration can lead to severe issues like kidney stones, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, seizures and low blood volume shock if ignored. If you suspect you are dehydrated, immediately start replenishing your body by drinking water and seek medical attention if you are unable to keep the water down or it isn’t easing your symptoms. We suggest that you contact our clinic as our leading team of healthcare professionals will closely examine your situation and help treat your dehydration. We are located at 1440 Main St. Dunedin, FL 34698. We serve patients from Dunedin FL, Palm Harbor FL, Clearwater FL, Safety Harbor FL, Oldsmar FL, Largo FL, and Tarpon Springs FL.