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What are the symptoms of dehydration?

There are several signs of dehydration you should be looking out for including:

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased urine or urine is dark yellow/orange color.
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Dry skin, lack of sweating
  • Constipation

Thirst alone is a poor indicator to determine if you’re thirsty. To avoid dehydration follow these guidelines:

  • Sedentary women and men should consume approximately 9 to 13 cups per day respectively.
  • Drink an additional 8 ounces of water for every 25 pounds you carry above your ideal weight.
  • Consume 2 to 3 cups of water two hours before exercise.
  • Drink 6 to 12 ounces of water for every 15 to 20 minutes of exercise.

Without enough fluid coming in, your body starts to shut down and stops functioning properly. Severe dehydration is a serious condition, so it's best to prevent dehydration in the first place.

Early symptoms that you're in need of fluid include thirst, dry mouth and/or sticky, thick saliva. Pay attention to your body's warning signs and replenish your liquids and electrolytes with drinks that are designed to rehydrate. You can make your own rehydration drink or buy over-the-counter products, such as Pedialyte, Lytren or Rehydralyte.

Avoid sports drinks, such as Gatorade, Powerade and All Sport. Although they replenish fluids, sports drinks also contain a lot of sugar, which, if you have diarrhea, can make it worse.

See a health professional immediately if you have any of the following symptoms of dehydration:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry eyes or no tears
  • Nonelastic skin that doesn't return to place when pinched
  • Rapid breathing and/or rapid heartbeat
  • Listlessness
  • Little or no urine output for eight hours or more

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.