How to Cure Dehydration at Home

Three Parts:Acute Dehydration in ChildrenAcute Dehydration in AdultsChronic Dehydration in Adults

Dehydration occurs when your body doesn't have enough fluids to function normally. There are many potential reasons you or someone you know may become dehydrated, but regardless of the cause, the only way to cure dehydration is to rapidly replenish the fluids and electrolytes the body has already lost. Only mild and moderate cases of dehydration should be treated at home; severe cases must be cured by emergency medical professionals.

Part 1
Acute Dehydration in Children

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    Assess the severity. Mild to moderate dehydration can usually be cured at home, but children experiencing severe dehydration need emergency medical care.
    • Signs of mild to moderate dehydration include thirst, dry or sticky mouth, crying unaccompanied by tears, infrequent urination, dark yellow urine, skin that feels dry and cool, headache, and muscle cramps.
    • Signs of severe dehydration include sunken eyes, lethargy, irritability, fatigue, dizziness, rapid pulse, and unconsciousness. A sunken soft spot on top of an infant's head is another sign of severe dehydration.
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    Prepare an oral rehydration solution. The age of the child will determine how much to provide, but as a general guideline, prepare the solution as directed on the product label and give the child a spoonful or sip every few minutes.
    • Oral rehydration solutions provide balanced doses of water and salts, so they rehydrate while simultaneously replenishing lost electrolytes.
    • Use a spoon or syringe to give your child 1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10 ml) of prepared oral rehydration solution every few minutes. Continue for at least 3 to 4 hours, or until the child's urine becomes clear in color. Increase the amount gradually as vomiting subsides.[1]
    • Note that room temperature fluids might be easiest to swallow, especially if your child is vomiting or nauseous.
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    Continue usual feedings for infants. If your baby is still on breastmilk or formula, continue feeding it to him or her. You may need to give smaller amounts at more frequent intervals if your baby has a hard time keeping fluids down.[2]
    • For formula-fed babies suffering with diarrhea, switch to a lactose-free formula until symptoms improve. Lactose can be difficult to digest and may worsen the diarrhea, thereby worsening the dehydration, too.
    • Do not dilute formula any further than the instructions or your doctor advise.
    • You may need to alternate both oral rehydration solution and breastmilk/formula. Consider giving your baby a sip of oral rehydration solution each time you offer him or her a bottle of breastmilk or formula.
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    Avoid potentially harmful foods and drinks. Certain foods and drinks can make dehydration worse, so it's important to avoid giving them to your child until he or she improves.[3]
    • Plain water can actually be dangerous when a child is dehydrated. The body loses salts and minerals during dehydration, and plain water can dilute this already low concentration of essential minerals even further.
    • Similarly, sports drinks replenish lost electrolytes, but only those lost through sweating. If your child is dehydrated due to diarrhea or vomiting, sports drinks will not be able to replenish the minerals he or she has lost.
    • Avoid milk, caffeine, undiluted fruit juice, and gelatin. Caffeine worsens dehydration. Milk, fruit juice, and gelatin can worsen the vomiting or diarrhea causing your child's dehydration, thereby making the condition more severe.
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    Prevent recurring episodes. Once you succeed in rehydrating the child, you should continue monitoring his or her condition closely. Careful treatment may prevent another episode of dehydration.
    • Increase the amount of fluids your child intakes while ill, especially if he or she suffers with diarrhea or vomiting. Breastmilk and formula are best for infants. Cold water, popsicles, diluted juice, and ice chips are best for older children.
    • Avoid foods that may make vomiting and dehydration worse. These include fatty foods, foods high in sugar, lean meats, complex carbohydrates, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables.
    • Fevers and sore throats can make it more difficult for children to intake fluids, so children suffering with these symptoms may also be given acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Part 2
Acute Dehydration in Adults

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    Assess the severity. Mild to moderate dehydration in adults can usually be cured at home without much risk of complication, but severe dehydration will require emergency medical care.[4]
    • Adults with mild to moderate dehydration may experience increased thirst, a dry or sticky mouth, difficulty urinating, dark yellow urine, skin that feels dry or cool to the touch, headaches, and muscle cramps.
    • Adults experiencing severe dehydration will likely have a lack of urination, amber-colored urine, shriveled skin, irritability, confusion, dizziness, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, sunken eyes, listlessness, shock, delirium, or unconsciousness.
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    Take in clear fluids. Plain water and drinks containing electrolytes are your best options. As a general rule, you should drink as much as you can without making any nausea or vomiting worse.
    • Most adults need between 2 and 3 quarts (2 and 3 liters) of fluids per day.
    • If you're dehydrated due to nausea or a sore throat, try sucking on ice chips or popsicles made from juices and sports drinks.
    • Electrolyte imbalance is not as grave a danger in adults as it is in children, but it's still something worth noting. Consider drinking oral rehydration solutions or sports drinks to help replenish some of the electrolytes your body loses when it becomes dehydrated. Oral rehydration solutions are best if you're dehydrated due to illness, but sports drinks work well if you're dehydrated due to overexertion.
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    Cool down. Acute dehydration is often caused by exposure to excessive heat or accompanied by an elevated body temperature. In either circumstance, you should try to cool down to prevent the body from losing additional water content.[5]
    • Remove excess clothing and loosen necessary clothing so that it doesn't smother the skin.
    • Sit in a cool area. Move into an air-conditioned building if possible. If this isn't possible, sit in the shade outdoors or sit near an electric fan indoors.
    • Cool the skin with water. Place a wet towel around the neck or on the forehead. Mist exposed skin with lukewarm water using a spray bottle.
    • Note that the cooling process must happen gradually. Exposure to excessive cold can cause the blood vessels to body to shiver, thereby raising its internal temperature. For this reason, do not attempt to use ice packs or ice water to cool the skin.
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    Control any associated gastrointestinal symptoms. When dehydration is caused by vomiting or diarrhea, you should try to control these symptoms through diet and medication to prevent any additional loss of water.[6]
    • In many cases, over-the-counter loperamide can control diarrhea. Do not use this medication if you have a fever or if there is blood mixed in with the diarrhea, however.
    • Use acetaminophen instead of ibuprofen for help controlling any fever you might have. Ibuprofen can irritate the stomach lining and may make vomiting worse.
    • Stick with clear fluids, including broths and gelatins, for the first 24 hours. As the vomiting and diarrhea subside, gradually reintroduce bland foods back into your diet.

Part 3
Chronic Dehydration in Adults

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    Drink more fluids. The average adult male needs approximately 13 cups (3 L) of fluid daily, while the average adult woman needs about 9 cups (2.2 L).[7] Increase your fluid intake to match or slightly exceed these ideal amounts.
    • Water is important, but these recommendations refer to the overall amount of necessary fluid and not the necessary amount of plain water.
    • That being said, certain beverages are better than others. Water, herbal tea, juice, sports drinks, and other electrolyte beverages will help hydrate you, but drinks with caffeine (coffee, soda, black tea) or alcohol can actually make dehydration worse.
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    Consume the right fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables with high water content can help replenish lost fluids. Since these foods also contain nutrients, salts, and sugars, they can help restore the proper balance of electrolytes, too.[8]
    • Bananas are a notably excellent choice. The water content of a banana can be as high as 75 percent, and they're also rich in potassium, a mineral that tends to decrease as dehydration worsens.
    • Additional fruits and vegetables worth consuming for the sake of hydration include watermelon, tomatoes, grapes, peaches, cantaloupe, strawberries, cranberries, apples, blackberries, apricots, cucumbers, broccoli, and zucchini.
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    Drink decaffeinated tea. Chamomile tea, in particular, can be especially helpful when treating chronic dehydration. Nearly any herbal tea or other naturally decaffeinated tea can help replenish lost water content, however.
    • Chamomile tea is considered to be a natural pain reliever, which is one main it is recognized as a powerful treatment for dehydration. As the body becomes dehydrated, stomach muscles may begin cramping. Chamomile tea is an effective way to rehydrate the body while treating those cramps.
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    Try coconut water. Coconut water is rich in electrolytes, so it can actually be better for chronic dehydration than standard water.
    • Among other nutrients, it contains notable amounts of iron and potassium. Both of these nutrients tend to be depleted as the body grows more dehydrated.
    • Note that coconut water is different from coconut milk. For the sake of curing dehydration, coconut water is the better option of the two.
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    Take an Epsom salt bath. Fill the bathtub with hot water and dissolve 1 to 2 cups (250 to 500 ml) of Epsom salts. Once the salt dissolves, soak in the bath for roughly 15 minutes.[9]
    • Your body can absorb magnesium from the bathwater through the skin, which may reduce any inflammation, fatigue, or soreness caused by chronic dehydration.[10]
    • The sulfates in the salt water can also aid in your body's ability to absorb nutrients, which may make it easier for your body to correct its electrolyte levels.


  • If you or someone you know demonstrates confusion, disorientation, or other signs of severe dehydration, you should seek emergency medical care from a hospital or clinic. Severe cases of dehydration must be cured with intravenous fluids and cannot be cured at home.

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Categories: Diet & Lifestyle | Home Remedies