Symptoms of severe dehydration, include low or no urine output, dark yellow-colored urine, sunken eyes, dizziness, fatigue etc. This condition demands immediate medical attention, and neglect may prove to be fatal.
Dehydration is a condition that occurs when the body loses more fluid than it receives, leading to a lack of sufficient fluids required for the normal physiological processes. If this loss is not replenished soon, the condition may worsen leading to critical consequences. Mild or even moderate cases of dehydration may be treated and managed by increasing fluid intake. However, this does not help when the case progresses to a severe stage, and immediate medical treatment becomes necessary.
Recognizing Severe Dehydration
Dry and sticky mouth is one of the earliest signs of mild to moderate dehydration. This may be accompanied with drowsiness, unusual tiredness, and excessive thirst. Older children and teens may not have any urination for eight hours or more, and infants may have less than six wet diapers a day. It may also cause headache, dizziness, and weakness in the muscles.
In case of severe dehydration, the individual experiences extreme thirst, and may become irritable and confused. Children feel more sleepy than usual. Mouth, skin, and the mucous membranes get intensely dry, and the dehydrated person would cease to sweat.
One of the classic signs of severe dehydration is very less or no urine output. The small amount of urine, if produced, is dark yellow or amber in color. The eyes appear sunken, and heartbeats may get rapid. In rare instances, fever and unconsciousness may occur.
One simple way to detect the onset of severe dehydration is to pinch the skin into a fold. If the skin does not bounce back to its place, then it lacks elasticity, which indicates a lack of fluid in the body.
Mothers may identify dehydration in their infants by touching their fontanels. This is the soft spot on the top of a baby’s head. In case of severe dehydration, this spot will be sunken.
The cause, age and severity of the condition decides the best treatment approach. While mild dehydration can be managed by taking oral rehydration solution, breast feeding, and avoiding certain foods and drinks, severe cases require immediate treatment at the hospital. Replacing the lost fluids and electrolytes in the body is the only effective treatment for this condition. Salts and fluids need to be administered intravenously. As the intravenous method replenishes the lost fluids much more quickly than oral solutions, it is considered to be the best way to treat severe dehydration.
Consuming an appropriate amount of water, fruits, and healthy beverages is the best way to keep dehydration at bay. However, in conditions such as illness and workouts, one may have to consume more fluids than usual.