<b>WHAT IS DEHYDRATION?</b> Dehydration is one of the most common heat diseases. Very few of us go through life without being dehydrated at some time or another. At times dehydration might be dismissed as a minor "irritation", but it is indeed something that deserves our full attention and warrants timely treatment. Dehydration can be defined as "Loss of water content and essential body salts (electrolytes) needed for normal body functioning." it is the lack of adequate body fluids for the body to carry on normal functions at an optimum level. There are basically 3 types of dehydration. Mild dehydration, which is said to set in when there is a fluid loss of 5% from the body. At this point in time, dehydration is not very dangerous and can be easily cured with re-hydration. Moderate dehydration is said to set in when there is up to a 10% loss of body fluid. This type is of great concern and immediate steps should be taken for re-hydration. When about 15% of a persons body fluid is lost a person is considered severely dehydrated. This should be treated as a medical emergency and might even require hospitalization to bring about a normal electrolyte balance. <b>SYMPTOMS</b> To enable quick and easy diagnosis, proper knowledge of some of the more common symptoms of dehydration is necessary. A person suffering from dehydration will display the following symptoms: <b>A dry mouth with sticky mucus membrane in the mouth. Decreased urine output. Sunken eyes Wrinkled skin which may lack its normal elasticity and sag back into position slowly when pinched into a fold. Fatigue Dizziness, confusion, and coma Low blood pressure Severe thirst Increased heart-rate and breathing </b> If you experience any of the above symptoms, or observe them in a friend then you need to get immediate medical attention, and immediate steps should be taken for re-hydration. <b>REHYDRATION</b> If caught early the treatment of dehydration, under normal circumstances, may be undertaken at home. However, it is always recommended that you contact your doctor to ensure a proper and complete recovery. Mild dehydration can be treated by simple rehydration. Oral fluids are very effective. <b><i>Sports drinks like Gatorade are very effective in restoring body fluids and salt balance. Another very effective way of maintaining salt balance and fluid intake is to drink fresh lemonade with salt in it.</b></i> For moderate dehydration intravenous fluids and hospitalization might be required. Though, if this is caught early enough, simple rehydration might suffice. It is essential that you contact your doctor for appropriate medical advice. For severe dehydration hospitalization along with intravenous rehydration will be necessary. This form of dehydration should be treated as a medical emergency and immediate action should be taken.