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Body condition due to loss of water and essential body salts, potentially dangerous, making early diagnosis and management extremely important.

Sex or Age most Affected

Both sexes, all ages. Dehydration is most dangerous in newborns and infants.

Signs & Symptons

  • Dry mouth.
  • Decreased or absent urination.
  • Sunken, dry eyes.
  • Loss of skin turgor; Wrinkled skin.
  • Sunken fontanelle.
  • Confusion, coma.


  • Persistent vomiting and/ or diarrhea from any cause.
  • Persistent high fever.
  • Heavy sweating.
  • Use of drugs that deplete fluids and electrolytes, such as diuretics (“water pills”).
  • Overexposure to sun or heat.

Risk Increases With

  • Newborns and infants.
  • Recent illness with high fever.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Chronic kidney disease.


  • Obtain medical treatment for underlying causes of dehydration.
  • If the child is vomiting or has diarrhea, take small amounts of liquid with electrolyte supplements every 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Khichdi, lemon juice, coconut water etc can be given


  • Hospitalization for intravenous fluids (severe or prolonged illness only)

Diagnostic Measures

  • Observation of the child.
  • Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
  • Laboratory blood studies, including blood counts and electrolyte measurement.

Possible Complications

  • Shock and death from prolonged, severe dehydration

Probable Outcomes

  • Curable with control of the underlying cause and replacement of necessary fluids.


General Measures

  • Weigh daily on an accurate home scale and record the weight so you can be aware of fluid loss.
  • If your child has vomiting or diarrhea, keep a record of the number of episodes so you can estimate child’s fluid loss.
  • For minor dehydration, give small amounts of clear liquids frequently. Large amounts will trigger vomiting.
  • Give electrolyte solutions. In 1 glass of boiled and cooled water (approx 200 ml), 1-teaspoon sugar and a pinch of salt may be adequate. One can also try prescription electrolytes, where instructions are on the label.


Your child may be prescribed intravenous fluids to replace lost water, in addition to specific treatment of the cause.


Rest in bed until child recovers.


Depends on the underlying disorder. Salty foods decrease the effect of dehydration.

Contact your Doctor

  • vomiting and diarrhoea continue/ worsen, inspite of treatment.
  • Child becomes drowsy, listless
  • Child’s skin loses normal turgor (resilience)