Dehydration occurs over time. If it can be recognized in its earliest stages, and if its cause can be addressed, home treatment may be beneficial and adequate.
Steps a person can take at home to prevent severe dehydration include:
- Individuals with vomiting and diarrhea can try to alter their diet and use medications to control symptoms to minimize water loss. Clear fluids often recommended as the diet of choice for the first 24 hours, with gradual progression to a BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples, toast) and then adding more foods as tolerated.
- Loperamide (Imodium) may be considered to control diarrhea.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be used to control fever.
- Fluid replacements may be attempted by small, frequent amounts of clear fluids. The amount of fluid required to maintain hydration depends upon the individual's weight. The average adult needs between two and three liters of fluid per day.
If the person becomes confused or lethargic; if there is persistent, uncontrolled fever, vomiting, or diarrhea; or if there are any other specific concerns, then medical care should be accessed.
Emergency medical system (EMS) or 911 should be activated for any individual with altered mental status -- confusion, lethargy, or coma.
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