Velocity Care explains the dangers of dehydration and provides information on how to keep your family well-hydrated during the hot summer months
What is dehydration?
The dictionary definition of dehydration is “a harmful reduction in the amount of water in the body.” This occurs when there is more fluid leaving the body than entering, and it can have dangerous consequences to your health.
Your body is made up of more than 75 percent water. To stay healthy and hydrated, you must maintain this balance of fluids by taking in as much water as you excrete during the day. You lose water by sweating, going to the bathroom and even breathing, and therefore, you must drink enough fluids each day to replace the water that you’ve lost. Luckily, your body has a mechanism that tells you when you need to increase your fluid intake. When your body needs to increase its water levels, you become thirsty, which prompts you to have a drink. In some situations, however, you may lose too much water too quickly, causing dehydration.
What causes dehydration?
- Diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of the most common causes of dehydration. This occurs when your body cannot absorb enough water to properly make up for the fluid that is exiting. Bacteria, a virus or other illness causes diarrhea.
- Vomiting. When you’re experiencing bouts of vomiting, it may be difficult to drink anything without causing more nausea, thus making it hard to keep your body’s fluid levels up.
- Sweating. Sweating is what helps to cool you down and regulate your body temperature; excessive sweating without replacing this fluid leads to dehydration.
How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
The most common symptoms of dehydration are the following:
- Extremely dry mouth
- Lack of sweating
- Extremely dry skin
- Sunken eyes
- Low blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
How much water should I drink?
The best way to stay hydrated is to drink the right amount of fluids to meet your personal needs. Drinking eight glasses of water per day is sufficient to prevent dehydration in normal circumstances, and you should drink more during hot weather, physical activity or times of illness. Avoid strenuous, physical activity when it’s extremely hot out and be sure to drink plenty of water or clear fluids throughout the day. If dehydration does occur, begin drinking fluids immediately. Sports drinks containing electrolytes are an excellent choice, as they’ll help to replenish your body’s fluids as well as other minerals depleted from dehydration. In extreme circumstances, you may need to seek medical care and have your fluids replaced intravenously.
Be sure to stay well-hydrated this summer. Always bring plenty of water or low-sugar beverages with you when spending time outdoors. If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of dehydration, it’s important to seek medical care immediately. At Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center, our team is always available to help. With convenient locations throughout Louisiana and Arkansas, there is a walk-in clinic near you with little to no wait time.
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