Dehydration – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Dehydration is a condition where our body loses excess fluid. Dehydration is not a trivial condition. When dehydrated, water moves out of our body cells more than what cells get through drinking.

We lose water every day in the form of moisture in our breath and also in the form of sweat, urine and feces. As water comes out, a small amount of body salt also disappears. So, when tasting sweat, there’s no doubt that we get the saltiness. When we lose too much water, the body’s fluid conditions become unbalanced or dehydrated. Severe dehydration can cause death.


Many conditions can cause fluid loss quickly and continuously so that someone falls into causing dehydration:

  • Fever, exposure to heat, and too much sweating
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and increased urination due to infection
  • Diseases such as diabetes or diabetes
  • Impaired ability to drink (for example, someone in a coma or stroke)
  • There is no access to safe drinking water for consumption, for example displaced victims of natural disasters
  • Significant injury to the skin, such as burns or severe skin diseases or infections of the skin so that the skin is peeling (so water is lost through open skin tissue)

Symptoms in adults

Signs and symptoms from mild to severe, include:

  • Thirsty
  • Dry mouth
  • Limp
  • Dizzy
  • Palpitations
  • Confusion
  • Passed out
  • Can’t sweat
  • The volume of pee is down or not even pee at all
  • In children, children look fussy, anxious, and cry but do not shed tears
  • Nausea and vomiting will actually aggravate the condition of dehydration

The color of urine may indicate dehydration. If the urine is very thick, very yellow or yellow in color, you may be dehydrated.

Handling at home

The principle of handling is to give fluids. At home, liquids can be given in the following ways:

  • Drink enough water but often
  • Drinking drinks that contain electrolytes, many are sold in the market
  • If someone is injured in the jaw, or mouth, drink through a straw

Try to cool a person, if exposed to heat or if the person is having a fever, in the following ways:

  • Take off excessive clothing such as a jacket and loosen tight clothes.
  • Condition a person in an air-conditioned area to help body temperature return to normal and break the heat exposure cycle.
  • If there is no air conditioning, put people in the shade, if you are in the field. Place a wet towel around the person.
  • If available, use a spray bottle to spray warm water on the surface of the skin to help with cooling by the evaporation method.
  • Avoid ice packs or ice water. We recommend using warm water. This can cause blood vessels in the skin to constrict and decrease. Exposure to excessive cold can also cause chills, which will increase body temperature when we need a decrease in body temperature.

Medical treatment

If severe dehydration such as fainting, loss of consciousness, the baby cries without tears, it is advisable to immediately bring the patient to the emergency room because this is a medical emergency. Treatment in the ER first focused on recovering blood volume and body fluids, while looking for causes of dehydration.

  • If there is no nausea and vomiting, fluid replacement can be done orally by drinking.
  • If there are significant signs of dehydration (increased resting heart rate, decreased blood pressure), fluid is generally given intravenously, a tube placed into a blood vessel.
  • Character
  • If your condition improves, you may be sent home, preferably in the care of friends or family who can help monitor your condition.
  • If you continue to be dehydrated, confused, have a fever, have persistent abnormal vital signs, or signs of infection, you may need to stay in the hospital for additional treatment.


Drugs only address the underlying causes of dehydration, for example, if dehydration is caused by a fever, then the doctor will prescribe paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower body temperature. If dehydration is caused by diarrhea, the doctor will find out whether diarrhea is caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites such as amoeba. If there is vomiting, the doctor will recommend opnam so that patients can get fluid and drug intake through an IV.

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