Dehydration symptoms usually begin with the sensation of thirst and progress from there.
Years ago I assumed that if I would just drink water when I was thirsty, I would be able to stay hydrated. Bad assumption.
What I have learned since then from many of the top water experts as well as personal experience is that having the sensation of thirst means you are already dehydrated.
A shortage of water in any area of the body will trigger signals that denote dehydration.
These are the body’s first indicators of its local or general thirst.
Dehydration is often classified as mild, moderate or severe based on how much of the body's fluid is lost.
Unfortunately, most people simply do not understand or recognize the signs and symptoms of dehydration.
In addition, it is important to note that these symptoms may differ from person to person.
The following symptoms are some of the more common symptoms that are reported for the different stages of dehydration, according to Merck.com.
Pay attention to changes in your own body. If in doubt, call your health practitioner.
When the average adult has lost about two to three percent of its total body water, mild symptoms appear.
In addition to an increased thirst, some of the most common symptoms of mild dehydration in adults include:
If the above signs and symptoms go unheeded and fluids are not replenished, the following symptoms may begin to appear.
At this stage of dehydration, the adult body’s fluid loss reaches 5 to 6 percent.
Total body fluid loss of seven to nine percent is critical!
The symptoms may be the same as moderate in addition to one or more of the following:
For mild dehydration, drinking fluids is usually sufficient for treatment.
It is best to sip water or drink small amounts of fluid rather than trying to drink a lot at one time, especially if nauseous. Drinking large amounts of fluid can cause more vomiting.
Parents find it helpful to use a teaspoon or syringe when giving water or other fluids to a baby or young child.
It is also important to replace electrolytes along with water and other fluids. Simply add a pinch of salt and honey to warm water. Or make your own electrolyte enhanced water.
Avoid sports drinks which contain a lot of sugar and could cause more bouts of diarrhea.
When a young child won’t take any fluids at all, freezer pops are a temporary solution.
However, rather than buying the sugary store-bought versions, make your own with diluted fruit juice and add a pinch of salt (for added sodium).
According to the National Institutes of Health, you should call your doctor right away if you, your teenager or any other adult in your home has any of the moderate or severe dehydration symptoms listed above.