Dehydration occurs once the body lose significant amounts of fluid. This can occur if the individual stops drinking fluids or loses excessive fluids via vomiting, diarrhea, sweating or physical activity. Lack of fluids can lead to muscle cramps and the individual might faint.
The body can take in fluid from the blood as well as other bodily tissues. Once the individual is severely dehydrated, there is not enough fluid in the body to reach the organs and can go into a state of shock that can be life-threatening.
Dehydration can occur to anyone at any age, but dangerous among infants, young children and the elderly.
What to do for infants and young children
Infants and young children face a higher risk for becoming dehydrated due to:
- The high metabolic rate where their bodies utilize more water
- Larger portion of their bodies are made of water
- Inability of the kidneys to conserve water as effectively as adults
- Not fully developed immune system that increases the chance of developing an illness that results to diarrhea and vomiting
- Diminished interest in food or fluids if not feeling well
- Dependence on caregivers to provide food and fluids
Dehydration among the elderly
The elderly face a higher chance for being dehydrated due to the following:
- Unable to drink since they do not feel thirsty as younger individuals
- Decide not to drink due to inability to control their bladders
- Poorly functioning kidneys
- Physical issues or conditions that makes it difficult to drink or hold a glass, painful to move up from a chair, difficult to go to the bathroom or hard to communicate with others.
- Using medications that increases the urine output
What are the initial indications?
Monitor infants, young children and the elderly for any of the early indications of dehydration every time they have conditions that results to vomiting, diarrhea or high fever.
- Eyes and mouth become drier than usual
- Feeling tired, cranky or dizzy
- Urine production is reduced
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on dehydration is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage dehydration, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.