Severe dehydration in adults and children is life threatening and must be treated by medical staff with intravenous fluids and salts, states Mayo Clinic. Mild to moderate dehydration in children should be treated with an oral rehydration solution; adults are normally cured with fluids such as water.
Other helpful measures for dehydration treatment in adults and children over 12 years of age include replacing physical activity with rest -while elevating the feet- and avoiding direct sunlight, according to WebMD. Sports drinks with electrolytes are beneficial, as they replace minerals and fluids lost. Those with mild to moderate dehydration should drink 10 full glasses of fluids daily to replenish fluid loss; even with full rest, it may take up to 1 1/2 days to fully re-hydrate the body. A re-hydration beverage can be created by mixing 1 quart water, ½ teaspoon table salt and 6 teaspoons sugar.
Beverages known to make dehydration worse are fruit juice, coffee and soda, warns Mayo Clinic. Salt tablets should also be avoided, as they contribute to hypernatremic dehydration, which causes additional harm by raising sodium levels.
Signs of dehydration include thirst, dark-colored urine, decreased frequency of urination, lightheadedness -especially when standing-, fast heart rate and sudden weight loss, according to Oley Foundation nutrition experts.