Dehydration: When to visit the ER
Summer is all about spending time outside in the sun, but with the heat comes the risk of dehydration. Dehydration can occur when you lose more fluid than you are taking in. If you are spending an extended period of time in the heat or exercising in the heat, it is important to recognize the signs of serious dehydration and when to call 911.
Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration
- Dry mouth
- Decreased urination
- Dry skin
Mild to moderate dehydration can usually be treated without the assistance of a medical professional. It is best to sip small amounts of water, sports drinks, or juice, get out of the heat, and lower body temperature with a cool towel or water misters.
Symptoms of severe dehydration
- Extreme thirst
- Extremely dry mouth, skin, and mucous membranes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Little to no urination
If you or someone you are with experiences any of these symptoms, contact 911 immediately. Severe dehydration can be life threatening, especially in children and elderly individuals. Treatment for severe dehydration in the ER focuses on replenishing blood volume and body fluids.