Dehydration is a condition of the body where the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. Once the water in the body is reduced, it needs to be replaced because an imbalance between the salts and sugar in the body can affect its performance.
When water is lost from the body, small amounts of salts or electrolytes are also lost. When we lose too much water, our bodies may become out of balance or dehydrated. Dehydration can be divided into three stages: 1) mild, 2) moderate and 3) severe.
Causes of Dehydration
There are various reasons for dehydration like intense physical activity, Hot climatic conditions, certain diseases and some medications as for diabetes, hypertension, dieresis can cause water loss from the body. Some of the commonest causes of dehydration are:
- Acute & Chronic Diarrhoeas were the intestinal tracts cannot absorb water from the foods is the most common cause of dehydration.
- Vomiting which can be commonly caused due to foodborne illnesses, nausea, and alcohol poisoning.
- Vigorous sweating may happen due to various reasons like fever and engaging in intense physical activity and working in a hot condition.
- Diabetes which is usually associated with frequent urination causes a considerable water loss.
- Frequent urination caused by alcohol and certain drugs like antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and antipsychotics.
- Exposure to extremely hot and dry/humid climate
Symptoms of dehydration in adults
The signs and symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration in adults may include Increased thirst, Dry mouth, Tired or feeling sleepy, Decreased urine output which is yellowish than normal, Headache, Dry skin, Dizziness, Muscle Cramps are the commonest symptoms. Dehydration progresses rapidly from Mild to severe stage hence require immediate attention. Check for fast pulse (More than 90 beats per minute) and fast breathing (more than 20 times per minute)which can further confirm the condition.
Symptoms of dehydration in Children
Medical attention has to be given immediately to dehydration in children. In case of episodes of diarrhea, vomiting in hot and humid climate the child should be rehydrated with fluids and then shifted to a medical facility for proper diagnosis and treatment. The condition of children can worsen rapidly if timely treatment is not given. Drowsiness, fast breathing, few or no tears when they cry, the soft spot on their head that sinks inwards (sunken fontanelle), dry mouth, dark yellow pee, cold and blotchy-looking hands and feel are some of the sure signs of dehydration in children.
Treatment for Dehydration
Try to get people who are dehydrated to take in fluids in the following ways:
- Sip small amounts of water or Suck on ice chips is the first thing to be done.
- the easiest way to prepare a rehydration solution is to add 2 spoons of honey / Sugar/jaggery to a liter of water and less than ¼ teaspoon (pinch) of salt to a liter of water. Water hydrates, sugar give energy and salt replaces the lost sodium.
- Tender coconut water with a pinch of salt is also an excellent rehydrating solution. Fresh fruit juice like orange, mosumbi without adding sugar with a pinch of salt added can also be given.
- Thick fruit juices, aerated drinks, and canned fruits juice can be given only if the above-mentioned materials are not available.
- In case of dehydration due to excessive sweating, hydrate him first with water and remove excess clothing.
- For dehydration associated with vomiting allow the person to suck ice cube or sip ice cold honey water / Ice cold lemon honey juice.
- For dehydration associated with diarrhea drinking ice cold water/honey water prepared with 1 spoon of honey and a pinch of salt in a glass of water gives relief.