Dehydration indicates a lack of water in the body. In this case, either water loss is abnormally high (fever, heat wave, vomiting, diarrhea, intense activity, an overdose of diuretics, diabetes, etc.). Either the principal concerned simply forgot to drink (insufficient intake), because they are caught in his game – which is common with children – or because they no longer feels thirsty, which is the case with seniors. Whatever the cause, dehydration can have serious consequences if it is not corrected quickly. It may even lead to loss of consciousness or even death. Let’s go back to the symptoms, the treatments and the best means of prevention.
When are we talking about dehydration?
Is dehydration common?
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
What are the risk factors for dehydration?
How is the diagnosis of dehydration?
The Importance of Hydration.
How to Recognize Dehydration?
How to Avoid Dehydration?
When Are We Talking About Dehydration?
It is an imbalance between the contributions and the water losses. The water of the body is not the only one disturbed. Very often, the mineral salts are too, especially because when one perspires (fever, intense activity, heat wave, etc.), that one vomits or that one is subject to diarrhea, one loses at the same time water and minerals such as sodium and potassium.
Dehydration is sometimes referred to as “sunstroke” when following prolonged sun exposure, or “heat stroke” when the ambient warm atmosphere is involved (non-air-conditioned car, room under the eaves, etc.). But the result is the same!
Read More: The Importance of Hydration for the Athlete
Is Dehydration Common?
Everyone pays for it several times in their life, but most often it is moderate and you can quickly correct by adequate water intake. The children affected quickly, during a childhood illness with fever or during a solar exposure (sunstroke), seniors in case of the heat wave (heat stroke), summer athletes who make up for their illness. Water losses and travelers of all ages traveling to a country with questionable hygiene!
If you’ve ever been thirsty, you’ve already been dehydrated! Indeed, the sensation of thirst appears when certain nerve receptors located at the level of the hypothalamus – a very important structure of the brain that alerts by too high a concentration of blood. It is a signal of dehydration and needs to take very seriously.
The turista, also called “diarrhea of the traveler”, “kabulite”, “Trotsky”, “Delhi belli”, “Djerbienne”, is of infectious origin, most often bacterial (Escherichia coli, shigellae, salmonella, enterotoxic E. coli), etc.). But according to an international survey of more than 700 000 holidaymakers, it would affect up to 60% of visitors to developing countries, Kenya and India breaking all records!
Read More: Hydration of Seniors and The Elderly
What Are The Symptoms of Dehydration?
At first, it can be a simple thirst. But as babies are unable to express themselves except by crying – not always well interpreted! The elderly no longer feel thirsty, the risk is great to miss and let dehydration evolve. In this case, other warning signs are also there.
If dehydration is not quickly corrected, the sensation of thirst becomes intense. The production of sweat and urine decreases (highly concentrated urine must attract attention). Other symptoms such as fever (sometimes high), an accelerated pulse, headache, dizziness due to a drop in blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, occur. In the absence of re-hydration, lack of fluids can quickly become worrying: the brain cells being particularly sensitive to dehydration, confusion, convulsions, and disorders of consciousness can appear.
In addition, there are symptoms of the condition that caused this, for example, if it is a turista, diarrhea and abdominal pain are common. A childhood illness, it may be a fever spurt followed by an eruption, etc.
What are the Risk Factors for Dehydration?
The extreme ages of life are the most vulnerable.
Infants are particularly concerned because their bodies are 70% water and have very few reserves. In addition, as their immune system is immature, they are prone to childhood diseases. It is accompanied by most of them, a fever, or even diarrhea and vomiting. All situations that promote water loss. The parents should take care of their children for dehydration. They can buy a reusable stainless steel water bottle for children for regular intake of liquid.
Seniors, in addition to the fact that they no longer feel thirsty. It is certainly very common diseases such as diabetes and taking diuretic treatments (to fight a high blood pressure, most of the time). It can be the origin of thrust or, at least, aggravate it. Ensure that they should have the best water bottle filled with water and keep drinking at regular intervals.
How is the Diagnosis of Dehydration?
A favorable context (heat wave, sunbathing, etc.) and suggestive symptoms such as fever and disturbances of consciousness are the signs of dehydration. It needs treatment urgently until proven otherwise.
The Importance of Hydration:
The human body is largely water. In infants, who have little fat tissue and low bone mass, the body is at least 73% water. The water weight (in water) decreases thereafter throughout life. In the elderly, water is only about 45% of body weight.
To maintain the body’s water balance, the intake of water and electrolytes (mineral salts) must be at least equal to the losses. If the intake is insufficient for a certain time, or the expense is too great, the body becomes dehydrated. Thirst and elimination of urine are two phenomena that reflect one of the main functions of the human body: the maintenance of fluid balance. This balance is necessary for survival.
In general, mild dehydration is not very problematic and easily remediable. On the other hand, severe dehydration is a medical emergency and a significant threat to health. In the worst cases, death may occur.
How to Recognize Dehydration?
Dehydration can be manifested by a variety of signs and symptoms, including:
Thirsty, sometimes intense;
A decrease of urine;
Dryness of the skin, lips or tongue;
Depression of the eyes in the orbits;
Loss of elasticity of the skin;
In infants, we can see a depression of fontanelles (soft spaces on the head) or an absence of tears
How to Avoid Dehydration?
The best way to avoid the consequences of dehydration is to take the necessary steps to prevent or correct it quickly. The care must be adapted according to the cause; however, there is always a need to ensure adequate intake of water and electrolytes. Factors that cause fluid loss (e.g, diarrhea or vomiting) should also be controlled.
Sufficient fluid intake usually helps to prevent dehydration. Water is often the best choice of drink. Buy the Coldest Water Bottle and always carry for regular intake of liquid. However, it does not provide an optimal supply of electrolytes. That’s why nowadays we recommend the use of re-hydration solutions. You can add some pharmaceutical and other oral solution.
Such products are available in the pharmacy as oral solutions, ice cream sticks or powder sachets. Some have interesting features, such as the addition of zinc to cover the losses of this element in case of diarrhea, or flavors that make consumption more enjoyable.
Dehydration often requires medical care or even hospitalization. If a person is at risk or has mild dehydration, seek medical advice. In case of obvious or severe dehydration consult a doctor immediately.