Our bodies are composed of 70 percent water. During the summer, we sweat more easily, thereby losing more of that water that makes us who we are. If we do not maintain that balance during the hot summer months, we feel it. Hampton Family Practice offers the following tips to prevent and combat dehydration yourself–before it becomes serious.
Causes of Dehydration
The body requires adequate fluid intake to function, which is why doctors often recommend drinking eight glasses of water daily. From circulating blood to eliminating toxins through urination, fluids keep our bodies healthy. When you become dehydrated, fluid–containing water and dissolved salts known as electrolytes–is lost and needs to be replaced. Children are much more likely to become dangerously dehydrated quickly from being ill with vomiting or diarrhea.
Common causes of dehydration include:
- Intense activity in hot weather
Symptoms of Dehydration
Mild to moderate levels of dehydration can make you feel unwell. Once you recognize that you are experiencing a fluid imbalance, you should immediately have some water or an electrolyte-balancing sports drink to correct the following symptoms of dehydration:
- Dry mouth
- Headache and/or a fuzzy mental state
- Decreased urination
Severe dehydration, which is a medical emergency, characteristically comes with some of the same symptoms as mild to moderate dehydration. Symptoms at this level are more severe and dramatic. The symptoms of severe dehydration include, but are not limited to:
- Rapid heartbeat and breathing
- Severely dry skin
- Sunken eyes
- Abnormally low blood pressure
- Confusion and delirium
Severe dehydration should be treated by a physician immediately. This way, fluids and salt lost by your body can be intravenously replaced with the most appropriate intravenous rehydration solution for you.
What to Do if You Think You Are Dehydrated
- Generally, if you or your child are showing symptoms of mild dehydration, you should take a break from any activity, find shade or air conditioning, and drink some water.
- If your symptoms are moderate, make sure you consume an electrolyte-balancing drink, in addition to taking the measures recommended for mild dehydration. You may also want to give your physician a call. Moderate dehydration does occasionally warrant intravenous rehydration if your body is not responding to oral hydration. Moderate levels of dehydration can be quite serious for children.
- If you or someone else becomes severely dehydrated, ask someone to call 911 for immediate medical help. Especially if the victim is vulnerable, such as a child, an elderly person, or a person with a debilitating medical condition.
The physicians at Hampton Family Practice are prepared to treat all summertime heat-related illnesses, including dehydration. We wish you a safe and healthy summer, and remember to combat dehydration before you see the symptoms!