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Dehydration, Ambulatory Care


is a condition that develops when your body does not have enough fluid. You may become dehydrated if you do not drink enough water or lose too much fluid. Fluid loss may also cause loss of electrolytes (minerals), such as sodium.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Dry eyes or mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Urinating little or not at all
  • Tiredness or body weakness
  • Headache, dizziness, or confusion
  • Irregular or fast breathing, fast or pounding heartbeat, and low blood pressure
  • Sudden weight loss

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Not being able to urinate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion or not being able to think clearly
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat

Treatment for dehydration

may include any of the following:

  • Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink more liquids than usual. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day, and which liquids are best for you. Drink liquids throughout the day, not just when you feel thirsty. Drink even more liquid if you will be outdoors, in the sun for a long time, or exercising. You may also need to drink an oral rehydration solution (ORS). An ORS has the right amounts of sugar, salt, and minerals in water to replace body fluids.
  • You may receive fluid through an IV. Electrolytes may also be included in the fluid.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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