Body naturally loses fluid through sweating and urination. However, dehydration takes place when there is higher loss of fluid from the body compared to fluid-intake. This condition generally occurs due to the exposure to excessive heat, diarrhea, vomiting, high fever, imbalance of fluid, and unregulated use of medication (such as diuretic and laxative) leading to excessive fluid loss.
Severe dehydration can lead to serious health problems such as kidney failure, shock, cramping, heat stroke/exhaustion/stress, and many more. It is a common problem among people while exercising, young children, and sick people. Thankfully, it can be avoided easily if you follow certain steps. In fact, early detection of dehydration can also help you avoid serious health problems.
Common Symptoms of Dehydration
Some of the common symptoms of dehydration include little/no urination, concentrated urine having a dark color as well as strong odor, fast breathing, rapid heartbeat, fever, excessive thirst, dizziness and confusion, dry mouth/skin, and headache.
If you observe any of these symptoms, you should act fast. If the patient is suffering from mild to moderate dehydration, then call a primary care doctor. In case of severe dehydration, admit the patient to a hospital’s emergency department.
Avoid Dehydration – How?
Prevention is always better than cure. So, try to avoid dehydration in the first place. Here are some of the ways through which you can avoid dehydration:
- Drink lots of water throughout the day to remain hydrated.
– In case of temperate climate and sedentary lifestyle, an adult having an average weight should drink 8 oz. (equivalent to 0.24 liter) of water every hour for 8-to-10 hours continuously.
– On a hot day, an adult having an average weight should drink 16-32 oz (equivalent to 0.47-to-0.95 liter) of water every hour for 8-to-10 hours continuously.
– In case of strenuous exercise, the need for intake of fluid to remain hydrated may increase by another quart or more.
Some studies suggest that on a per day basis, a person needs to drink water equivalent to their body weight in kilograms divided by 30. If your body weight is 60 kgs, you have to drink around 2 litres of water every day.
- If you are participating in a strenuous activity or sporting event, you should drink up water beforehand so that you don’t get dehydrated. This process of drinking water beforehand is known as water loading.
- To prevent your body from losing too much of fluid, you should use wet towels. You can also take a dip in the pool or immerse your body in water to help in cooling.
- Avoid intentional dehydration in all ways possible, including to aid weight loss. Many people:
– Take medication for rapid weight loss
– Use exercise equipment for losing weight
– Use rubber belly bands to lose weight
All the above procedures enable weight loss by causing water loss from the body. So, desist from these intentional dehydration procedures.
If you want to avoid dehydration in this sweltering heat, then drink lots of water, eat fruits and vegetables having high amounts of water in them, and avoid/limit intake of caffeine-rich drinks (such as tea, coffee, and soft drinks) as well as alcohol. The Indian meteorological department has said that due to El Nino, monsoon may be subdued in several parts of India. This will lead to sweltering heat. Therefore, always remain hydrated. You may get dehydrated if you don’t follow these steps. In that case, either call a doctor for help or get admitted to emergency hospital for treatment.