Looking after our health is important at the best of times. From a young age, we are taught the importance of seeking medical treatment for any ailments we have while managing and preventing other conditions. For the most part, these tactics work, and you go through life without any qualms about your health.
On the other hand, various medical conditions and ailments can strike at any moment, despite you doing what you can to prevent them. This includes the likes of dehydration. We feel confident that many of those reading this and beyond have felt incredibly thirsty at one point or another, but when does this thirst for fluids and hydration fall into the category of dehydration?
Knowing about ailments like this and how best to treat them is paramount, no matter your age or occupation. On the back of this, we have created a helpful guide right here, detailing all you need to know about dehydration and what you should do to treat it effectively. Read on for more!
What Is Dehydration?
For the most part, people believe they have an adequate and full understanding of what constitutes dehydration, but this is far from the case. Dehydration is a condition that is caused when the body loses too much fluid, and this fluid is not replenished quick enough.
Dehydration can be caused by various factors, with the most common one being that of not drinking enough fluids. Even if you bought yourself a stylish reusable water bottle or a stainless steel bottle with a wide opening to make it easy to drink from, if you’re only filling it up once per day, you’re likely not getting enough water. It is recommended that the average person consumes between 2.7 and 3 liters of water a day; there are thousands if not, millions of people out there who do not drink nearly as much water as they should.
Other common causes of dehydration include sweating a lot, vomiting and diarrhea, and urinating too much, whether due to medication or illness. It is easy to distinguish whether you are dehydrated from a specific set of symptoms.
Symptoms Of Dehydration
As is to be expected, the symptoms of dehydration vary depending on your age and the severity of the dehydration you are experiencing. Dehydration in adults can present itself as the following symptoms:
- Urinating and sweating less than is normal.
- Dark-colored urine.
- Feeling thirstier and fatigued.
While these symptoms are present in adults and older children, they differ slightly when it comes to young children and infants. Instead, dehydration presents itself as:
- High Fever.
- No wet diapers for 3 hours or more.
- Dry mouth and tongue.
- Crying without tears.
Who Is At Risk Of Dehydration?
This seems like an easier question to answer than others. You might find yourself thinking, ‘surely we are all at risk of dehydration?’ While that is undoubtedly true, there are categories of people who are unfortunately more susceptible and at risk of developing dehydration than others. Being aware of these at-risk categories is helpful, particularly if you have or care for family members who fall into this category of people.
Naturally, young children and infants are at higher risk than older children for developing dehydration. Unable to communicate their needs and more likely to experience vomiting and diarrhea than others, you should ensure that you monitor your child’s fluid intake, particularly during bouts of sickness and in warmer weather.
People living with chronic illnesses that cause higher levels of urination and sweating are also at risk of dehydration, and it is apparent why. Conditions such as Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, and a range of kidney issues are all up there as common causes of dehydration for those living with the conditions.
Coming away from illnesses and health ailments, simply having a job that entails working outdoors in hotter weather, or exercising outdoors can also cause dehydration, particularly if you are ill-prepared and do not frequently hydrate.
While drinking plenty of water throughout the day and during strenuous activities is one way to prevent dehydration, there are many other means for treating this common ailment. This takes us to the following.
Methods Of Treating Dehydration
Following the previous suggestions, being able to quickly and effectively spot dehydration gives you the best possible chance at tackling it. Knowing what treatment you should be seeking out will help overall while minimizing any lasting damage.
Electrolytes play a critical role in keeping us hydrated, particularly after exercising. Helping to maintain proper fluid balance, potassium, sodium, and calcium are essential to ensuring you are able to function properly. While you would tend to get a whole host of vitamins and minerals from drinking tap water, electrolyte water is a better option for treating symptoms of dehydration, for it contains a higher level of minerals.
Often used as an oral rehydration solution, this can be used to treat dehydration in people of all ages. When using sports drinks – high in electrolytes – it is also worth considering the added sugar content and the effects this could have on the body.
While oral rehydration solutions can be used to treat dehydration from home, there might come the point where you or someone else are more dehydrated than initially thought, and these efforts are not helping. At this point, or any point leading up to this, when concerned for the welfare of an individual, you should seek medical treatment and attention from a trained professional.
From here, they will be able to administer intravenous rehydration treatments over the course of a few hours. Depending on the severity of the dehydration will depend on how much fluid a person will need, but you can rest assured they will be on the mend in no time.
While these were only a handful of methods for treating dehydration, they are effective in managing mild dehydration and the associated symptoms. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day, both while at home and while on the go will ensure you do not experience anything like this moving forward. Pay close attention to how much fluid you are intaking during bouts of warmer weather and make adjustments where necessary. Find you struggle to keep yourself hydrated? Investing in a reusable water bottle is a helpful way of managing this. You could even find one with water targets on it and use this to plan how much water you will drink in a day.