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Last updated October 29, 2021

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Get a thorough self-assessment before your visit to the doctor.

What is dehydration?

Dehydration occurs when the body does not have fluid to function properly. It happens when you don’t drink enough, or it can happen when you’re sick with diarrhea or vomiting. You know you may be dehydrated when you start feeling these early signs of mild dehydration:

Other symptoms you may feel:

Children and dehydration

Children are particularly vulnerable to dehydration. Call a doctor if:

  • The soft spot on top of your baby’s head is sunken
  • There are no wet diapers over a 6- to 8-hour period (depending on the child’s age)
  • Your child doesn’t produce tears when crying
  • Your baby’s mouth, eyes, or skin are dry
  • Your child’s cry is weak or raspy or they are significantly less active
  • Your child has a chronic medical condition
  • He or she is malnourished
  • Your infant is less than 2 months old
  • There is excessive vomiting
  • There is a significant increase in the usual amount or number of bowel movements each day, or they are bloody or foul-smelling.


The quickest fix is to drink fluids. If someone has signs of severe dehydration, they may need to go to the ER to get IV fluids.

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