How To Know When Someone Is Severely Dehydrated
Have you been around people who have been severely dehydrated? I’m going to share a personal story with you, I hope it helps you one day. One of my daughters mentioned to me about two weeks ago she had a sore throat and thought she was coming down with a cold. Now, let me remind you, my entire family, typically or rarely goes to the doctor because we are a healthy bunch. We can usually heal our bodies naturally, drinking water and eating healthy. We are all hand washing freaks, or at least the majority of us are. I hate that word freak, but we own it. All of us own it.
I raised my girls to be strong hard working women and mothers. They are also independent, no entitlement required, thank goodness. I call it tough love. Let me tell you how my daughter got sicker and sicker. I knew she had a “cold,” but she’s a single mom working 60-70 hours a week, if not more.
I’m not a helicopter mom, but I am a concerned mom. I sent her a few text messages and she responded she was doing better. Then ten days after the “cold” started I called her this last Friday. She said she was tired and had been throwing up for a few days. I said you are probably dehydrated, have your son (22 years old) get you some chicken soup and some Gatorade or several drinks that have some electrolytes in them. Drink them and keep me posted.
Now, I called her on Sunday morning and she said she was worse, I said go to an Instacare (she’s a single mom). She said, no I’m fine. I said okay, rest and keep me posted. That night things took a huge turn for the worse.
I called her that night about 5:30 p.m. and she was babbling, disoriented and making no sense. She was hallucinating and incoherent. Please keep in mind we live 400 miles away from her. I called one of her friends, no answer. I then sent him a text with 911 and her name. He quickly called me back. I said my daughter is in trouble, she needs to go to the ER NOW, and I mean NOW.
I called my daughter back and I could hear my grandson talking. I didn’t know he was home. I called his number and said, you need to take your mom to the ER NOW she is very very sick. He, said, let me talk to grandpa. I think he must have thought I was being dramatic. Well, Grandpa said to take her to the ER NOW. He still said I think she is just tired.
I called her friend back and said her son is there, we are good. I said to her son, if you don’t take her to the hospital she could die. I have helped so many people the last few months with dehydration in our neighborhood, and my daughter was the worst I case and I knew she needed immediate attention.
I had to leave it to our grandson to get her to the hospital which was one mile away from their apartment. One freaking mile away, that’s all. I knew then it was in God’s hands. If my grandson didn’t take her ASAP, she would die. I will never forget looking at my husband on the couch with tears running down his face and thinking there is nothing we can do.
Yes, I could have called 911, but my grandson was there. Anyway, I went to bed hoping we would get a call from the hospital letting us know how she was doing. Well, about four hours later, my daughter’s friend called and said she was at the hospital with my daughter and she was in bad shape. Her sodium levels were dangerously low. The doctors said they like the number above 135, 120 is life-threatening and hers were 118. The doctors were surprised she hadn’t had any seizures or worse. Well, maybe she did, we will never know.
They did a CT Scan, then an MRI, blood tests, gave her IV’s with lots and lots of sodium/saline solution and Potassium. The Potassium drip took four hours and was extremely painful. She was crying with pain, she could feel it going through her body. Anyway, she ended up having to stay until Tuesday night. I think she should have stayed a few extra days, she is still exhausted. She has lost all her memory for the last tw0 to three weeks.
I called a friend who is a great doctor and he said that is normal. Okay, breathe, Linda, breathe. Mark and I could have gone down there, but I wanted to hear the results of the tests before we booked flights or whatever. Anyway, she is still not out of the woods but continues to gain strength each day.
Severely Dehydrated Symptoms
I am not a doctor, a nurse or anyone in the medical field, this is what I have learned over many years:
- Little or no pee output or having very dark yellow pee
- Lack of energy
- Very dry skin
- Chapped lips/bright shiny red lips
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- A headache
- Dry mouth
- Increased thirst
- No tears when they cry
- No appetite
- Sunken eyes
I felt strongly I needed to share my story about my daughter with you. It may save a life of someone you know. Do not wait, go with your gut if you think your friend or loved one is severely dehydrated and needs to go to the ER or InstaCare type clinic. May God bless you and your family to stay well. Please, stock items you feel you need to help your family stay hydrated.
Dehydration: AdobeStock_97183026 by Viperagp
31 thoughts on “How To Know When Someone Is Severely Dehydrated”
Oh my gosh, Linda! I know how hard this must be on you and Mark. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys and your daughter. Big hugs and lots of love, Mare
Hi Mare, you are so nice as always with your soothing words to comfort me. It’s so crazy as a mother, an aunt, a sister, or whatever we hope to instill our gift of healing or at least to watch for symptoms so our friends and family can recognize the sickness that cannot be overlooked. Thank you again, my friend! Hugs and love to you, Linda
Great article. Many people are just like your daughter and think they will be fine in a few days. Hoepfully many will read and keep this in mind next time someone has these symptoms.
Hi, Christy, thank you for your comment! I really hope we can spread the word about dehydration, it is scary if left unattended. Linda
My daughter & her family are nearly 2000 miles away, and yes, they will lie to their mother! Folks don’t realize how dangerous dehydration is & how quickly it can escalate. I’ll be thinking of you (and family). You probably know this but just in case another reader can use it, I’m including my recipe for a rehydration mix: 6-8 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp salt substitute, pinch of baking soda. Mix with water to taste. You can mix in just a little Kool-Aid powder to help get it down little ones. I add a jar of this when I’m sending out annual jars of homegrown herbs.
Hi, Linda, oh my gosh, you crack me up, yes they lie to their mother! Or they leave out a few details! LOL! Great tip on the recipe for a rehydration recipe. It’s crazy I live in the desert and when my grandkids come to visit one in particular almost always gets a headache. The last couple years, I have slowly purchased reusable stainless steel water jugs to keep the kids hydrated when they visit. This crazy dry heat dehydrates adults and kids very quickly. Thank you, Linda
Prayers for your daughter’s speedy recovery, and that next time they will heed your lifetime of knowledge!
Hi Roxanne, thank you for your kind words, I sure hope they learned big time from this expensive ER visit! Linda
You did good. Having been a Volunteer Firefighter / Medic for 41 years I have seen cases like this all to often. Back in Indiana we have the largest State Park in our district. Very busy place in the Sumer’s heat and humidity.
Side story, we had a man from Indianapolis come down to count our Rattlesnakes. He reached into the dens to count by feel and yes he got himself bit.
I hope she recovers soon.
Hi, Ranger Rick, you left me hanging!! Is the guy that reached down to count the rattlesnakes okay?? You are so nice and keep me going with your knowledge about being a Volunteer Firefighter/Medic for 41 years! You rock! I’m assuming the rattlesnake counter is okay!! Thanks again, my friend! Linda
Thank You Linda for sharing your thoughts and concerns I really hope your daughter improves quickly. I also thank you for this great reminder and symptoms. In Florida where I live it’s so important to stay hydrated because of the heat being so extreme.
Hi Debbie, I bet in Florida it is beautiful and sunny! The heat most definitely dehydrates us!! Great comment! Linda
So sorry but hope your daughter is doing better. The article is excellent and thank you. Here in Texas it gets very hot and it is easy to dehydrate.
Hi Melba, thank you so much. You are always so kind and I really appreciate your comment. By the way, I LOVE Texas, I have a sister who lives in Austin. It was in Austin that I learned what black beans and salsa should taste like!!! Oh and BARBECUE! I love Texas and the people. Yes, it does get hot there and makes us susceptible to dehydration. My daughter continues to improve, thanks again. Linda
If you take medicine for any reason, always drink plenty of water. Certain medicines will dehydrate you. Hope your daughter is feeling better. Prayers have been sent up for all of you.
Hi Mildred, oh yes you are so right about certain medications needing plenty of water, great reminder. I call her every day and she sounds better each day. Thank you for your prayers, they are greatly appreciated. Stay well, Linda
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I’m with Roxanne about people heeding “Mom’s” advice. We didn’t live this long by doing stupid stuff (well, sometimes we may have slipped up) but those times only made us more aware of how quickly things can get out of hand and why we need to jump on problems as soon as they occur. I really enjoy your postings and have learned so much!!
Thank you for being so willing to share your knowledge.
Hi Vee, thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate your comment, thoughts, and prayers. LOL! Yes, we may have all slipped, I call those learning curves. I had a close friend lose a son to Rotavirus (5 years old as I remember). He quickly got dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea and became very sleepy and lethargic. That’s when I researched about dehydration, and I have NEVER forgotten what it can do to you. May God bless a family that reads this post so they can learn from my personal story. Dehydration is dangerous. Thanks again for your comment, stay well. Linda
Thanks for sharing that with us, you had a real scare. You were 400 miles away, but you saved her life, worlds greatest mom. Hope all gets back to normal soon, tell her the un-none people in her life and yours wish her well, God Bless.
Hi Hearl, you are so nice, thank you for your sweet caring comment. It means so much to me. Linda
Heavens!! The young and the old are most vulnerable to dehydration. But as you have shown, anyone can get dehydrated. Every time I start vomiting, I just get ready to head to the ER. I can’t stop until I get an IV. Last time the physician said for some people this is common.
My daughter had an infant (our granddaughter) and she had been vomiting. Dad was watching her while she was at work. She arrived home at the end of the day and dad was holding her, but she was totally limp. He said, “She’s been really good, just resting.” He just never noticed how limp and unresponsive she was. She rushed her to the ER where the baby had an IV put in. My daughter has NEVER left the children with him again when they are sick. He just didn’t notice that she was listless. He has never lived that one down!
Oh, Gayle, this is how my friend’s son died. The grandmother was watching him when the parents went to work. He had been throwing up all day but slept most of the time. By the time the parents got home, he was limp and rushed to the ER. He died a short time later at the hospital. Oh, my gosh, I’m glad your granddaughter is okay. Blessings from heaven, I will say that. It was a hard learning curve for your son-in-law. God bless you and your family. Stay well, Linda
Thank you for sharing your daughter’s story with us. Two things to tell you: I arrived at the ER with a severe pain in the lower abdomen. After many tests, it turned out to be a burst colon and an emergency surgery. They hooked up the IVs including potassium which was very painful as your daughter described until the ER nurse went to get lidocaine to insert. I have had to have it a second time a few years later and told the nurse to make sure she gets lidocaine before the potassium goes into the IV. The other thing is that I have been dehdrated just a couple of years ago that involved a couple of flights to Tucson, AZ where I was going to pick up the keys to our new home. In the hotel room than night and early morning, I felt like I was having a heart attack. I asked the hotel to call 911. When I was checked out at the hospital with all kinds of tests, it was determined that with the dry air from flying, a layover between, and arriving in the heat of the day without compensating with enough water, it started affecting me. I couldn’t drive, didn’t feel coherent at times. My sister came to the hospital and brought me back to the hotel and stayed with me until I felt better.
Hi Carol, oh my gosh, how scary! I’m so glad you listened to your body. I mentioned to my daughter about the lidocaine. She is eating bananas and drinking Gatorade like crazy, she does not want to EVER have that potassium drip again. The desert heat or summer heat for that matter is dehydrating. It’s funny because I never like to drink on the airplane because I don’t want to use the bathroom. I will now drink water for sure on the airplane after hearing your experience!! Thank you so much! Linda
P.S. I forgot about your burst colon, OH MY GOSH!!! Thankfully you are still here to talk about it. WOW! Linda
How scary for you. I am glad that your daughter got the help she needed.
Thanks, Janet!! She continues to get better every day. She has lost her memory for the last few weeks. Hopefully, that will improve. Linda
A few years ago I had a abscess and wasn’t drinking like I should have been when I ended
up in the hospital so they could do surgery on me for the abscess they couldn’t find my veins. Usually there is NO problem, I felt like a pin cushion by the time they were done. I ended up with a peds needle in the
back of my hand in my pinky finger. The pain was so bad I almost cried. Recently I have been sick
and I made sure I drank and drank everything I could find. I only have to go through that once to know better.
Recently a store we shop at had lemonade mix and tang on sale for 99 cents when you buy 5. So needless to say I stocked up on that so I have things to drink at all times and not be wearing myself out on the same old thing.
Hope your daughter is doing better.
Oh June, that must have been so painful. My husband gives blood to help the American Red Cross and I always tell him to drink plenty of fluids before he leaves. It helps them draw the blood easier by finding the veins. An abscess is dangerous, glad you’re okay. I love finding sales like the Tang and Lemonade!!! Good find. Please stay well and safe. My daughter continues to improve every day. Thank you, my friend, Linda
When I had some surgery in first grade, I didn’t want to drink anything because it hurt so bad, even ice water. 3 days later I had to return to the hospital because I was dehydrated. Scared my parents to death. When I came home that night It was all I could do to get water in to me! I drank and drank. I thought I was going to die if I didn’t get water immediately. I never forgot that and now drink lots of water. Very scary ! Especially so far away from your daughter. Happy it all turned out ok.
Hi Cheryl, this is why I write posts to help others in case they can use the information. We all need to be aware that kids and adults can become dehydrated so quickly. I’m glad you were able to go back to the hospital and get help. I’m sure your parents were very scared. My daughter’s situation was so scary. Thank goodness it turned out okay. Linda