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DEHYDRATION

If the body is exposed to a dry and hot condition, dehydration  very common heat-related injuries that can be very dangerous if left unchecked.


 
What is Dehydration?

Dehydration is a process in which the body loses water rapidly and there is no water replacement.

What Causes Dehydration?


Under normal conditions, we all lose body water daily through sweat, tears, urine and stool. In a healthy person, this water is replaced by drinking fluids and eating foods that contains water. When a person becomes so sick with fever, diarrhea or vomiting or if an individual is overexposed to the sun, dehydration occurs. This is caused when the body loses water content and essential body salts such as sodium, potassium, calcium bicarbonate and phosphate.


 
Occasionally, dehydration can be caused by drugs, such as diuretics, which deplete body fluids and electrolytes. Whatever the cause, dehydration should be treated as soon as possible.

 
What are the Symptoms of Dehydration?
 
The following are the most common symptoms of dehydration, although each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:


 

  
In children, additional symptoms may include:
  • dry mouth and tongue
  • no tears when crying
  • no wet diapers for more than three hours
  • sunken abdomen, eyes or cheeks
  • high fever
  • listlessness
  • irritability
  • skin that does not flatten when pinched and released

 

 Treatment for Dehydration


 


 If detected early, dehydration can often be treated at home under a physician's guidance. In children, directions for giving food and fluids will differ according to the cause of the dehydration, so it is important to consult your pediatrician.
 
In cases of mild dehydration, simple rehydration is recommended by drinking fluids. Many sports drinks on the market effectively restore body fluids, electrolytes and salt balance.

 
For moderate dehydration, intravenous fluids may be required, although if caught early enough, simple rehydration may be effective. Cases of serious dehydration should be treated as a medical emergency and hospitalisation, along with intravenous fluids, is necessary. Immediate action should be taken.

 

 
How Can Dehydration be Prevented?
  • Take precautionary measures to avoid the harmful effects of dehydration, including:
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially when working or playing in the sun.
  • Make sure you are taking in more fluid than you are losing.
  • Try to schedule physical outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
  • Drink appropriate sports drinks to help maintain electrolyte balance.
  • For infants and young children, solutions like Pedialyte will help maintain electrolyte balance during illness or heat exposure. Do not try to make fluid and salt solutions at home for children.

 

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