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


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.


If not treated early, dehydration can become severe. If this happens, you may faint or have seizures. Your organs can stop working. This may be life-threatening. Treatment may cause swelling in your brain, which can cause headache, dizziness, or decreased alertness. Too much fluid too quickly may worsen your condition.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV (intravenous)

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.


  • Body weight: You may be weighed each day. Your caregiver may compare your weight from day to day. This will help your caregiver to see how much fluid is in your body.
  • Intake and output: Caregivers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day. Ask caregivers if they need to measure or collect your urine.


  • Blood tests: These tests will check your electrolyte levels and are used to see if you are dehydrated.
  • Urine tests: Your urine is tested to find the cause of your dehydration, such as an infection or diabetes. It may also help to see if your kidneys are working correctly.
  • Tilt table test: This test checks to see what happens to your heartbeat and your blood pressure when you change positions.


  • Oral rehydration therapy: You may need to drink more liquids to replace body fluids. 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.
  • IV therapy: You may receive fluid through an IV tube placed in your vein. Lost electrolytes (mineral salts) may also be included in the fluid.
  • Hypodermoclysis: This treatment quickly gives your body a large amount of water. The water is given into the deepest layer of your skin.

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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.