How to spot Dehydration
What is dehydration?
We’ve all seen dehydrated fruit, right? The perfect snack! Apricots are typically around 81% water, falling just short of the human body which is about 75% water. When that balance is thrown off, it may be known as dehydration – which is totally fine for fruit, but not okay for our bodies!
Dehydration happens when you don’t have enough fluids in our system. Generally, our bodies will give us some pretty good warning signs that we need more liquid.
To avoid dehydration, it’s important to have enough water and high water content foods like fruits and vegetables, not just liquid. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is another reason you may become dehydrated and drinking more alcohol won’t do anything to help.
Other early symptoms
- Dry mouth
- Muscle weakness
Severe dehydration may also include symptoms such as:
Lack of sweating
Being irritable, drowsy or confused
Increased heart rate
It is important to look out for signs of dehydration in young children as they can’t always communicate or understand the need to drink more. Those symptoms can include:
No wet nappy for 3 hours or more
No tears when crying
Sunken cheeks, eyes or fontanel (soft spot on babies’ head)
Dry tongue and mouth
Tips to avoid dehydration:
The good news? Dehydration can be avoided by ensuring that you take in enough water to replace any that is lost. While your body should let you know that you’re getting low by making you thirsty, it’s important to try and drink regularly to avoid getting to that point. Remember, some things can cause us lose liquid faster than normal, so make sure you’re hydrating more when you:
are in hot weather,
have diarrhoea or vomiting,
you find yourself going to the bathroom more often than usual, as water is lost each time you urinate.
When to seek medical assistance?
For twenty-three years I’ve been an inpatient in hospital roughly a billion times- (okay, probably a million) but for the sake of my credibility in writing this let’s go with a billion. I’ve definitely determined a favourite vein for blood tests, I’ve memorised the exact tea/coffee/meal schedules, and semi shamefully/semi proudly I admit I’ve mastered the balancing act of rolling my orange-juice-topped IV machine back to bed after visiting the patient kitchenette snack drawer. There is a plethora of things you’ll learn about, yet no one tells you about being in hospital.
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