Dehydration means your body loses more fluids than you take in. If it's not treated, it can get worse and become a serious problem.
Symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include:
- feeling thirsty
- dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
- feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- feeling tired
- a dry mouth, lips and eyes
- peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day
Dehydration can happen more easily if you have:
- vomiting or diarrhoea
- been in the sun too long (heatstroke)
- drunk too much alcohol
- sweated too much after exercising
- a high temperature of 38C or more
- been taking medicines that make you pee more (diuretics)
Drink fluids when you feel any dehydration symptoms.
If you find it hard to drink because you feel sick or have been sick, start with small sips and then gradually drink more.
You can use a spoon to make it easier for your child to swallow the fluids.
You should drink enough during the day so your pee is a pale clear colour.
Drink when there's a higher risk of dehydrating. For example, if you're vomiting, sweating or you have diarrhoea.
If you're being sick or have diarrhoea and are losing too much fluid, you need to put back the sugar, salts and minerals that your body has lost.
Your pharmacist can recommend oral rehydration sachets. These are powders that you mix with water and then drink.
Ask your pharmacist which ones are right for you or your child.
See a GP if:
- your symptoms do not improve with treatment
Under-5s with dehydration
The under-5s should get plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
It's quite common for young children to become dehydrated. It can be serious if it's not dealt with quickly.