Dehydration means your body loses more fluids than you take in. If it isn't treated it can get worse and become a serious problem.
Babies, children and the elderly are more at risk of dehydration.
Check if you're dehydrated
Symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include:
- feeling thirsty
- dark yellow and strong smelling pee
- feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- feeling tired
- 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)
How you can reduce the risk of dehydration
Media last reviewed: 18 Jul 2017
Media review due: 18 Jul 2020
Drink fluids when you feel any dehydration symptoms. Keep taking small sips and gradually drink more if you can.
You can use a spoon to make it easier for your child to swallow the fluids.
You should drink enough during the day so that your pee is a pale clear colour.
Drink when there is a higher risk of dehydrating. For example, if you’re vomiting, sweating or you have diarrhoea.
Carers: making sure someone drinks enough
Sometimes people you care for don't have a sense of how much they're drinking.
To help them:
- make sure they drink during mealtimes
- make drinking a social thing, like "having a cup of tea"
- offer them food with a high water content – for example, soups, ice cream or jellies, or fruits like melon
A pharmacist can help with dehydration
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.