Thirst is one of the first warning signals that you may be getting dehydrated. But don’t rely on thirst alone. Other early signs are fatigue, flushed skin, faster breathing and pulse rate, and having trouble exercising. Later signs include weakness, dizziness, and labored breathing.
If you think you’re becoming dehydrated, you should move to a cool place and rehydrate. Drink fluids slowly — drinking too fast can stimulate urination, resulting in less hydration
Thirst isn’t always a reliable early indicator of the body’s need for water. Many people, particularly older adults, don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated. That’s why it’s important to increase water intake during hot weather or when you’re ill.
The signs and symptoms of dehydration also may differ by age.
Infant or young child
Dry mouth and tongue
No tears when crying
No wet diapers for three hours
Sunken eyes, cheeks
Sunken soft spot on top of skull
Listlessness or irritability
Less frequent urination
Whether you’re exercising, spending time in the summer sun or are feeling under the weather, you can easily become dehydrated if you don’t take in enough fluids. Once dehydration has set in, the body slowly begins to shut down, eventually causing problems such as kidney failure, seizures and brain swelling. Fortunately, your body will tell you that you’re dehydrated before you get to that stage, by displaying one or more of the following warning signs.
One of the early signs of dehydration is a dry mouth. This typically includes dry or cracked lips, difficulty swallowing and a heavy tongue that sticks to the bottom of your mouth. A dry mouth can be pretty uncomfortable and usually makes people want to drink for that very reason.
Fatigue is another common sign of dehydration, so if you feel tired after a workout or sluggish while working in the afternoon, it may be because you haven’t had enough to drink. If you have had plenty of water and still feel dehydrated, you may have adrenal fatigue, which actually causes dehydration. Those who have this condition need to drink about one-half to one gallon of water each day. If you often feel fatigued after drinking a lot, you may want to consult with your doctor.
This may seem like an obvious symptom, but when you’re dehydrated, you become thirsty. It’s just your body’s way of urging you to drink. On average, a woman should drink about nine glasses of fluid per day while a man should drink about 12 glasses of fluid per day.
Difficulty Going To The Bathroom
Constipation and difficulty urinating are two more common symptoms of dehydration. In children and adults, this means going eight or more hours without urinating and for infants, this means going three or more hours without a wet diaper. Cramps may also accompany these symptoms.
If you notice that your skin is slightly red, it may be because you are dehydrated. However, if you’ve been exercising for a while or have spent some time in the sun, your skin may be flushed anyway, so be sure to look for other warning signs that accompany this warning sign. However, if your skin feels dry and is usually so, this may be a sign of chronic dehydration.
Many headaches are caused by dehydration and this is especially true for children and teens. So if you feel a headache coming on, don’t pop an aspirin – drink some water instead.
Just as a dog pants when it is dehydrated, a human will begin to breathe rapidly when he or she is dehydrated. This is actually a symptom of severe dehydration and may be accompanied by an increased heart rate.
Dizziness And Difficulty Concentrating
Dizziness, lightheadedness and vertigo are all symptoms of severe dehydration and are usually caused by a lack of blood in the brain. Severe dehydration can also cause confusion and can make it difficult to concentrate. Once these symptoms have developed, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
When you’re nauseous, you usually don’t feel like ingesting anything, but when it comes to dehydration, ingesting fluids is a must. Nausea is another symptom of severe dehydration, which requires medical attention. It’s also a common warning sign for pregnant women who are dehydrated.
Aggravation And Depression
If you find yourself feeling down in the dumps at your desk or snapping at co-workers for no reason, it may be because you are dehydrated. Try getting some water to see if it makes you feel better and don’t forget to make regular stops at the water-cooler to give yourself a break while staying hydrated.
Poor Skin Turgor
Skin turgor refers to the elasticity of your skin. Normally, when you pinch your skin, it falls right back into place once you let go of it. But if you have poor skin turgor, your skin will take longer to fall back into place. The skin turgor test is a good indicator of dehydration and is often used by doctors when identifying a patient with dehydration.
By far, the best indicator of dehydration is the color of your urine. Your urine should actually be clear; if it isn’t, that means that you haven’t taken in enough fluids. How much are you lacking? The color will actually tell you. If the urine is a dark color, that’s a sign of severe dehydration. But if the urine is a lighter color, that’s a sign of mild dehydration. Either way, if your urine isn’t clear, it’s time to pour yourself a glass of water.