Without enough water, the body is unable to carry out its normal functions – a term that is commonly referred to in the medial field as dehydration.
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than what it takes in, and it can be especially dangerous for children or the elderly.
Dehydration often occurs as a result of vomiting and diarrhea that is caused by the flu, as well as certain medications, while others simply have a lower volume of water in their bodies. Dehydration is also more likely to occur during the summer, as the weather is warmer, and can also result in vigorous exercise, which is why family physician Dr. Ali Ghahary always recommends that patients keep a bottle of water on hand.
Depending on the age of the patient, dehydration can affect everyone differently. Infants or young children that are dehydrated may exhibit symptoms such as dry mouth, irritability, and listlessness, while adults will experience symptoms such as infrequent urination or have dark-coloured urine, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and extreme thirst.
If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms of dehydration, it is important that you stop what you’re doing immediately. For example, if you were exercising, make sure you sit down and rest. If you’ve been outdoors and in hot weather, find a well-shaded or air-conditioned area.
Along with drinking water, sports drinks (such as Gatorade or Powerade) or Hydralyte can also help to replenish lost fluids and essential minerals the body requires in order to stay healthy. It’s also easy to make a rehydration drink at home by simply mixing one quart of water with half a teaspoon of salt and six teaspoons of sugar. If you have been diagnosed with dehydration, it is important to sip on cool fluids for approximately 2 to 3 hours in order to get your levels back to where they need to be. In severe cases of dehydration, you may require hospitalization so that you can be provided fluids intravenously.
While you may feel better within a few hours, it is important to allow yourself 1 to 2 days of rest before you’ll be 100% back to normal.