Dehydration is a medical emergency that can occur when a person becomes dehydrated. It can happen when the body does not have enough water to drink. Your body cannot function properly unless you have enough fluid. Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how much fluid your body is missing.


It’s normal to lose water from your body every day. Dehydration is not limited to athletes who are exposed to direct sunlight. You can be dehydrated if:

  • You’re busy and forget to drink enough water/ fluids.
  • You don’t realize you’re thirsty.
  • Excessive sweating
  • You can lose more water than usual with a fever, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • People working outside in extreme heat
  • People with chronic conditions
  • Older adults and athletes are at a higher risk of developing dehydration than others.

What symptoms indicate dehydration?

Dehydration symptoms vary depending on whether the condition is mild or severe. Dehydration symptoms may appear before total dehydration.

Mild to moderate dehydration symptoms include:

  • Dark yellow pee
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Less tear production
  • Increased thirst
  • Not peeing very much

Signs of severe dehydration include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness


  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to avoid dehydration.
  • People experiencing vomiting or diarrhea may need to drink more fluids. 
  • If your child is vomiting or has diarrhea, begin giving extra water or an oral rehydration solution as soon as symptoms appear. 
  • In hot or humid weather, you should drink more water to help lower your body temperature which you lose through sweating.
  • Access to water may also be required in cold weather to combat moisture loss from dry air, especially at higher altitudes.
  • Dehydration is most common in older adults during minor diseases such as influenza, bronchitis, or bladder infections. When you are not feeling well, drink plenty of fluids.
  • Clear, dilute urine is a good sign that you are well-hydrated. Replace fluids at regular intervals during the activity and continue to sip water or other fluids after you have finished.