Dehydration happens when there is a significant lack of water in the body. This is usually due to drinking too little water or excessive sweating without replenishing fluids. Most people will experience this water shortage at some point in their lives. Symptoms of dehydration can range from mild and fleeting to serious and long-lasting. There is no group of people that are not susceptible to dehydration, but the condition can affect infants and older people more severely than healthy individuals of other ages. In the case of infants, dehydration is generally caused by severe diarrhea and/or vomiting. Older people simply maintain a lower level of water in their body naturally. However, they are more likely to be on daily medications, many of which increase the chances of dehydration. That said, anyone exerting themselves in the hot sun or warmer temperatures needs to ensure that they are taking in enough fluids. Except in extreme cases, dehydration can be prevented simply by increasing consumption of water.
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Exertion in warmer climates leads to sweating and increases the risk of dehydration. But excessive exercise isn't the only potential cause of dehydration. If you're running a fever, there is a good chance you'll also be sweating, which can lead to unexpected dehydration. In the case of infants and young children, parents should watch for signs of dehydration such as tearless crying, dry mouth, dry diapers for 3-4 hours, listless behavior, sunken soft spots on the top of the skull, and sunken cheeks. Adults might first notice dehydration when urination is less frequent or dark in color. They may also experience headaches, dizziness, fatigue and constant thirst.
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