Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid that you take in . If you are already taking small amounts of fluids then you are likely to become dehydrated . When the normal waters content in the body is reduced , it upsets the balance of minerals in the body , which affects the way it functions.
Water is very important to the body as it makes up over two-thirds of the HEALTHY human body . It lubricates joints and eyes , aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, keeps the skin healthy.
One simple and easy way of detoxifying is to drink plenty of water and the body will flush out wastes and toxins in the urine, through sweat and on passing stools.
What are the warming signs of dehydration?
Some of the early warning signs of dehydration include:
In adults
feeling thirsty and lightheaded
a dry mouth, lips and eyes
tiredness and exhaustion
having dark coloured, strong-smelling urine
passing urine less often than usual
A baby may be dehydrated if they:
have a sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on their head
have few or no tears when they cry
have fewer wet nappies
are drowsy
The body is affected even when you lose a small amount of fluid.
If dehydration is ongoing (chronic), it can affect your kidney function and increase the risk of kidney stones. It can also lead to muscle damage and constipation.
What causes dehydration ?
The main cause is us not drinking enough fluids to replace what we lose. The weather , amount of physical exercise one does particularly in hot weather and the diet can contribute to dehydration. One can become dehydrated as a result of illness , such as persistent vomiting and diarrhoea , or sweating from a fever .
It is advisable to make sure that we push fluids in those that are ill. If one is vomiting then we need to wait for about 30 to 45 mins after vomiting and then start to give them fluids. One must drink fluids, little and more often. If this fails to help then the person must go the hospital for further assessment.
Who is at high risk of dehydration ?
We can all get dehydrated but the following are at high risk ;
babies and infants – they have a low body weight and are sensitive to even small amounts of fluid loss
older people – they may be less aware that they are becoming dehydrated and need to keep drinking fluids
people with a long-term health condition – such as diabetes or alcoholism
athletes – they can lose a large amount of body fluid through sweat when exercising for long periods.
What can you do when you are dehydrated?
If you are dehydrated the best fluid to take is pure water as it does not contain any calories. Diluted squash may help as long as it is well diluted to avoid too much sugar. Fruit juices are not advised as they contain a lot of added sugar even if they claim to be 100% pure juice. Tea and coffee contain caffeine so they need to be drunk in moderation . Fizzy Drinks contain a lot of sugar so one will add up putting more weight.
Please remember that if left untreated , severe dehydration can be serious and cause fits (Seizures), brain damage and death
Seek urgent medical advice if;
extreme thirsty
feeling unusually tired (lethargic) or confused
not passing urine for eight hours
rapid heartbeat
dizziness when you stand up that doesn’t go away after a few seconds
You should also contact your Doctor if your baby has had six or more episodes of diarrhoea in the past 24 hours, or if they have vomited three times or more in the past 24 hours.
How much should I drink?
Studies have tried to establish a recommended daily fluid intake, but it can vary depending on the individual and factors such as age, climate and physical activity.
A good rule is to drink enough fluid so that you’re not thirsty for long periods, and to steadily increase your fluid intake when exercising and during hot weather. Passing clear urine (wee) is a good sign that you’re well hydrated.
You should drink plenty of fluid if you have symptoms of dehydration, such as feeling thirsty and lightheaded, or passing dark-coloured urine. It is also important to replace fluid lost after an episode of diarrhoea.

Dehydration in babies

A baby may be dehydrated if they have:
a sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on their head
few or no tears when they cry
a dry mouth
fewer wet nappies
dark yellow urine
fast breathing
cold and blotchy-looking hands and feet

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