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Dehydration

Posted by on Aug. 4, 2016 at 8:28 AM
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8/2: Symptoms and Warning Signs of Dehydration

Posted by on Aug. 2, 2016 at 9:47 AM
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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration?

The body's initial responses to dehydration are thirst to increase water intake along with decreased urine output to try to conserve water. The urine will become concentrated and more yellow in color. As the level of water loss increases, more symptoms can become apparent, such as increased thirst, dry mouth, cessation of tear production by the eyes, cessation of sweating , muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, heart palpitations, and lightheadedness (especially when standing). With severe dehydration, confusion and weakness will occur as the brain and other body organs receive less blood. Finally, coma and organ failure will occur if the dehydration remains untreated.

How is Dehydration Diagnosed?

Dehydration is often a clinical diagnosis. Aside from diagnosing the reason for dehydration, the health care professional's examination of the patient will assess the level of dehydration. Initial evaluations may include:

  • Mental status tests to evaluate whether the patient is awake, alert, and oriented.
  • Vital sign assessments may include postural readings (blood pressure and pulse rate are taken lying down and standing). With dehydration, the pulse rate may increase and the blood pressure may drop because the intravascular space is depleted of water.
  • Temperature may be measured to assess fever.
  • Skin will be checked to see if sweat is present and to assess the degree of elasticity. As dehydration progresses, the skin loses its water content and becomes less elastic.
  • Infant evaluation: infants may have additional evaluations performed, including checking for a soft spot on the skull (sunken fontanelle), assessing the suck mechanism, muscle tone, or loss of sweat in the armpits and groin.
  • Pediatric patients are often weighed during routine visits, thus a body weight measurement may be helpful in assessing how much water has been lost with the acute illness.

In some cases, blood tests to measure potential electrolyte abnormalities and urinalysis may be ordered to determine the level of dehydration in the patient.

How is Dehydration Treated?

Fluid replacement is the treatment for dehydration. This may be attempted by replacing fluid by mouth, but if this fails, intravenous fluid (IV) may be required. Should oral rehydration be attempted, frequent small amounts of clear fluids should be used.

Clear fluids include:

  • water,
  • clear broths,
  • popsicles,
  • Jell-O, and
  • other replacement fluids that may contain electrolytes (Pedialyte, Gatorade, Powerade, etc.)

Can Dehydration Be Treated at Home?

Dehydration occurs over time. If it can be recognized in its earliest stages, and if its cause can be addressed, then home treatment may be adequate. Steps a person can take at home to prevent severe dehydration include:

  • People with vomiting and diarrhea can try to alter their diet and use medications to control symptoms to minimize water loss.
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be used to control fever. Ibuprofen may irritate the stomach and cause nausea and vomiting, so it should be used with caution in individuals who already have these symptoms.
  • Fluid replacements may be attempted by replacing fluid by mouth with frequent small amounts of clear fluids.

If the individual becomes confused or lethargic; if there is persistent, uncontrolled fever, vomiting, or diarrhea; or if there are any other specific concerns, then medical care should be accessed. EMS or 911 should be activated for any person with altered mental status.

What Are the Complications of Dehydration?

Complications of dehydration may occur because of the dehydration, and/or because of the underlying disease or situation that causes the fluid loss. Complications that may occur include:

  • kidney failure,
  • coma,
  • shock,
  • heat-related illnesses (heat exhaustion or heat stroke), and
  • electrolyte abnormalities.
by on Aug. 4, 2016 at 8:28 AM
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Replies (1-2):
LadyDiamond927
by on Aug. 4, 2016 at 1:08 PM
1 mom liked this

Thank yougood

letstalk747
by on Aug. 7, 2016 at 11:54 AM

ya scary

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