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Not Even the Luck of the Irish can Prevent Dehydration

Feeling a little under the weather after your St. Patrick’s Day celebration? You may be dehydrated. Dehydration affects the efficiency of our bodies, including digestion, circulation, maintaining body temperature, and transportation of nutrients. Whether you woke up extremely thirsty or started getting muscle cramps in the middle of the day, there are steps you can take to rehydrate yourself. Check out our commonly asked questions of dehydration below:

What are the causes of dehydration?
  • Fever
  • Heat exposure
  • Too much exercise
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or increased urination due to bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, food poisoning or secondary to other medical conditions such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and other non-infectious causes.
  • Consumption of alcohol

What are the symptoms of dehydration?
  • Dry mouth
  • Thirst
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Confusion

When should I seek medical care if I am dehydrated?
Seek medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms while dehydrated:
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when standing
  • Blood pressure drops and/or heart rate increases when trying to stand after lying down.
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Fever
  • Urinating less than 6 times a day for children, 4 times a day for adults

What can I do to rehydrate?
You need to replenish the fluid and electrolytes that your body has lost.

One thing you can do is to prevent dehydration in the first place by drinking a full glass of water before bed and at other times you expect to not have access to fluids. If you are planning to exert yourself such as by exercising, be sure to bring along fluids.

If you are an adult or adolescent experiencing dehydration, continue to drink hydrating fluids such as sports drinks or dedicated electrolyte solution, such as Rehydralyte or its equivalent to replace the water and electrolytes you lost. For rehydration in infants and children, give frequent, small amounts of a dedicated electrolyte solution, such as Pedialyte or its equivalent. Additional tips for children and infants with dehydration include:
  • Provide one to two ounces of electrolyte solution every 15 minutes
  • Avoid fluids such as sodas, juices, soups, bouillon, tea, flavored drink mixes, frozen gelatin, popsicles, or crushed ice beverages
  • If you are breastfeeding, continue to do so

If your body is severely dehydrated, at-home treatment may not be enough and you may require intravenous (IV) fluids. If you feel you are dehydrated and unable to rehydrate yourself at home, e.g., due to continued nausea and/or vomiting you may walk into any Patient First center for evaluation by one of our physicians. The physician or physician-extender will evaluate you, determine the cause of the dehydration, and, in discussion with you, decide the best way to rehydrate for your circumstances, whether at-home by mouth or IV hydration at the Patient First center.

To learn more about water intake and dehydration, please visit the CDC’s website


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