How to Test for Dehydration at Home

How to Test for Dehydration at Home

Dehydration occurs when your body loses too much fluid due to vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, fever and certain medications that can cause you to urinate large amounts. This condition can range from an easily treated mild form to a life-threatening condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, those more prone to dehydration include young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses. You can take certain at-home steps to determine if you or someone you know is dehydrated.

Things You'll Need
  • Manual or digital blood pressure cuff
  • Stethoscope

1. Ask the person if he is thirsty. A dry mouth and thirst are symptoms of dehydration.

2. Assess the amount and color of urine produced by the person. Someone with dehydration may have dark-yellow or amber-colored urine and may urinate only a little or not at all for eight hours or more. Infants with dehydration may have less than six wet diapers a day.

3. Take the person's blood pressure and pulse. Symptoms of dehydration are a lower-than-normal blood pressure and a higher-than-normal pulse.

4. Gently pinch a portion of the person's skin on the hand, lower arm or abdomen, forming a fold between your thumb and forefinger. Let go after a few seconds and see if the skin flattens out quickly to a normal position or if it retains the pinched shape while slowly returning to normal. If the skin slowly returns to normal, this can indicate dehydration.

5. Look at the person's face and assess if her eyes appear sunken, which can indicate severe dehydration.

6. Assess the person for other signs of dehydration, including sleepiness, few or no tears when crying, muscle weakness, headache, dizziness and light-headedness. Children may also be less active than usual.