Diet and Nutrition

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration?

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration?

Dehydration is a condition that arises from a water deficiency in a person's body. The condition causes your body to malfunction, leading to blood clotting, convulsions, and other possibly fatal problems. According to researchers, even slight dehydration can adversely affect your strength and mood. Therefore, it’s paramount to diagnose and treat dehydration in its early stages. However, the symptoms are not always the most obvious, apparent ones we are familiar with.

Foul Breath

A dehydrated body is unable to produce sufficient saliva, which contains essential antibacterial attribute. Saliva deficiency in your mouth can lead to excess growth of bacteria. Therefore, severe dehydration can cause bad breath as a result of the overgrown bacteria. 

Dry Skin

Most people believe that hydration victims sweat a lot. However, as dehydration advances, it causes dizziness and low blood volumes, which can lead to the skin drying out. 

Muscle Pains

When your muscles become heated, the chances of experiencing muscle pains increase. As the muscles function more and more, they become so warm that they can eventually jam. Muscle pain can also be caused by the changes in potassium or electrolyte levels.

Extremely High Body Temperatures and Chills

Although it may seem contrary to intuition, chronic dehydration can cause signs such as extremely high body temperatures or even chills. Since chronic dehydration is hazardous, ensure you get urgent medical attention if your fever exceeds 101°F.

Craving Sweet Foods

Dehydration can cause problems in the production of glycogens and other energy store constituents, thus leading to food cravings. Although you can have an urge to eat several things like salty snacks and chocolate, sweet cravings are more rampant since your body may be unable to produce sufficient glycogen.


Higgins explains that the brain is situated inside a fluid sack that prevents it from knocking against the skull. Dehydration can cause exhaustion or low levels of the fluid sack, making the brain push against the skull, resulting in headaches. 

Dehydration Checks

Not sure if your sweet craving or muscle pain is a sign of dehydration? Check out these tell-tale factors:

  • Skin test. Start by holding a roll of your skin that is situated at the opposite side of your palm. Stretch up the skin to approximately 0.5 to 1 centimeters up and then release the skin. The skin is supposed to spring back immediately into its usual position.  
  • Urine color. Urine is normally clear, with slight yellow color for well-hydrated people. Urine with a yellow, Chardonnay, or orange color is a danger sign.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Healthy adults can treat slight and moderate dehydration cases by drinking more fluids, such as water or sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade. You should see a doctor as soon as you experience serious signs like extreme thirst, the absence of urination, dizziness, perplexity and wrinkled and contracted skin.

Be more careful when treating children and older adults. Consult your family doctor as soon they show these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea accompanied by vomiting or fever.
  • Stool with a black or bloody color
  • Moderate diarrhea for a day or more
  • Excessove thirst
  • Abnormal fractiousness or disorientation and more sleep or less activity.
  • Any mild or moderate dehydration sign

In case an older adult or child show severe dehydration symptoms, seek immediate medical help by dialing 911 or any other relevant number. Dehydration can be prevented from getting serious by taking good care of the sick and giving them fluids like oral solutions to counterattack dehydration, such as CeraLyte and Pedialyte, among others, when you observe the first vomiting and diarrhea or fever symptom, which indicate the onset of dehydration. Additionally, encouraging children to drink much water before, during and after activities, helps in preventing severe dehydration.