What is dehydration?
Dehydration is a condition that occurs when the loss of body fluid, water exceeds the amount that is in taken. Our body is made of 75% of water, without this water it cannot survive. In this, more water will move out of the cells and then from the body. If you do not replace the lost fluids you will get dehydrated. Anyone may be affected by dehydration but it is quite serious in young children and in older adults. This may occur in any age group if you will not take the water that is required by the body. This mostly occurs while exercising or in the hot weather.
What are the causes of dehydration?
Dehydration is caused when the person does not drink enough water when you are busy while traveling, hiking or camping. Sometimes it occurs for a simple reason, there are some other reasons for dehydration are
Diarrhea, vomiting; diarrhea causes suddenly and violently. When this occurs there is a tremendous loss of water and electrolytes from the body in a short period of time. Along with this diarrhea if the person is also having vomiting then he will lose more fluids and minerals from the body and the person will become sicker.
Fever: If the body is highly dehydrated, then you will have a fever. The situation becomes more worst if the person has a fever along with diarrhea and vomiting. The person should be immediately taken to the hospital for medication.
Excessive sweating: you lose water when you sweat excessively. If the person does the vigorous activity and doesn’t drink water to replace, continuous to do the work then he will become dehydrated. The humid weather increases the sweat and there will be loss of water from the body.
Increased urination: this may be due to undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes. The medications may also lead to dehydration, because of that they urinate more.
There are so many reasons for the cause of dehydration, in teens, gastrointestinal illness is the main reason for dehydration. If you are flattened by a stomach bug, you will be affected by vomiting and diarrhea which results in the loss of fluids and minerals from the body. And the person affected by the bug will not feel like eating or drinking much.
Sore throat is also one of the reasons for dehydration, the person will face difficulty in swallowing and drinking. If you have a fever, then the water evaporates from the skin to make the body cool and reduces the temperature.
What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
The signs and symptoms of dehydration in adults from minor and some time may be mild or severe. The mild symptoms of dehydration are increased thirst, dry mouth, tired or sleepy, decreased urine output, urine is low volume and more yellowish than normal, headache, dry skin, dizziness, and few or no tears. The above symptoms may be worsened if there is no proper precautions are taken they may lead to the
- Severely decreased urine output or no output of urine.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness that does not allow the person to stand or walk.
- Blood pressure drops when the person tries to stand after lying down.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Fever and poor skin elasticity
- Lethargy, confusion or coma
- Seizure and shock.
Symptoms in children: in baby’s sunken fontanel, dry tongue and mouth, irritable, no tears when crying, sunken cheeks and eyes, no wet diaper for 3 or more hours.
The body also tries to maintain the cardiac activities it increases the heart rate to pump the blood to different parts of the body and the organs. The body shunts the blood flow away from the skin to the internal organs like the brain, lungs, kidney, and intestines, which causes the skin to be cool and clammy. This increases the severe dehydration and this reduces the blood flow to all the organs and sometimes it may lead to coma, organ failure and even may die.
What is the Treatment for dehydration?
The doctors cannot diagnose without knowing the proper cause for the dehydration. A patient may have symptoms like disorientation, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, fever and lack of sweat and inelasticity of the skin. The doctor conducts some test to know what had happened so he conducts a
Blood test: blood samples are collected to test whether to confirm certain levels of electrolytes and potassium and sodium.
Urine analysis: will provide very useful information to help in the diagnosis of dehydration. In dehydrated person, the urine will be darker in color and more concentrated which contain some compounds called ketones.
The temperature should be measured to assess fever.
Skin: the doctors will check the dehydration process od through the skin or not. They check out for sweat and degree of elasticity.
In children: To diagnose dehydration in infants, doctors usually check for the sunken soft spot on the skull. There may be loss of sweat and tone of the certain muscles.
Medical treatment: For this, they restore the fluid volume and electrolytes and treating any life-threatening symptoms are found. If the temperature of the affected person is more than 104 F the doctor will try to cool the entire body.
Fluid replacement in moderate:
- If there are nausea and vomiting, fluid replacement may begin orally for some patients with moderate dehydration. They are asked to drink electrolyte/ carbohydrate-containing fluids along with water.
- If the signs of moderate to severe dehydration fluids will be given through IV. If the person is having a low heart rate and low blood pressure.
- If the person has recovered in the emergency department, the patient will we send home in the care of the family or friends. This happens only in some cases.
- If the person is still dehydrated, confused, and feverish has persistently abnormal vital signs of infection. The person will be advised to take to the hospital for further treatment.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen or Advil may be used. This can be given by mouth if there are no symptoms.
What are the risk factors?
Anyone can become dehydrated, but few people will be at risk.
Infants and children: especially the children and infants are vulnerable to dehydration. This is caused because young children can’t tell that they are thirsty or they cannot drink themselves.
Older adults: as the increase in the age the fluids in the body will also be reduced and the ability to conserve water also decreases and thirst levels also become acute. This may result in chronic illness such as diabetes and dementia and by the use of certain medications also result in the dehydration.
People with chronic illness: having uncontrolled or untreated diabetes puts you a high risk of dehydration. Medications that are used in kidney diseases are also responsible for the dehydration in the body. Even sore throat is also one of the factors that cause dehydration at this phase you will not feel like taking the food or water.
People who work or exercise: when it is hot and humid the risk of dehydration and heat illness increases. If there is excess sweat from the body then you should take more fluids.
What are the home remedies for dehydration?
Dehydration occurs in overtime. If it can be recognized in the early stages, then we can do adequate home remedies. The steps that are taken to prevent dehydration are:
- People suffering from diarrhea and vomiting can alter themselves by changing their diet and by medications to control the loss of water.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen are used to control the fever. Ibuprofen may cause irritation in the stomach and cause nausea and vomiting.
- We should give clear fluids at frequent intervals so that the patient will recover soon.
- Fruits with high water content should be given to the patient. Eating fruits can replenish hydration levels. Fruits that contain more water levels are watermelons, bananas, strawberries, grapefruit, papaya, and cantaloupes. Adding a pinch of salt and water to the fruit juice may increase the electrolyte levels.
- Vegetables with higher water content are good for replenishing the fluid levels in the body. Eat vegetables like cucumber, spinach, celery, eggplants, zucchini, radishes, and tomatoes to treat someone who is affected by mild dehydrated.
- The patient should be given the salty foods like crackers, pretzels or salted nuts, etc. consuming these extra salts helps to regulate the body’s electrolyte levels. And we can also give a pinch of salt to the drinking water which helps to maintain the salt level in our body.
- Drinking buttermilk for three to four times a day can help with chronic dehydration. One tablespoon of dry ginger and a pinch of salt in a cup of buttermilk is an excellent hydrator.
- To restore the body with sodium and potassium the person should be given yogurt and cottage cheese, which helps in the hydration of the body.
- Baking soda and salt both together form a homemade oral rehydration solution. This provides energy and revitalizes anyone suffering from dehydration. Boil 1 liter of water and add a half tablespoon of baking soda, single tablespoon of salt and two heaped tablespoons of sugar and give this to the patients several times a day.
- Coconut water is the quick and best solution for dehydration at home. This contains high levels of iron and potassium these hydrates the body quicker than the plain water.
What are the complications of dehydration?
- Heat injury: if you don’t drink enough water while you do exercise vigorously and perspiring heavily, you may end up with the heat injury or life-threatening heatstroke.
- Urinary and kidney problems: prolonged and untreated dehydration can cause urinary tract infection of kidney stones and even kidney failure.
- Seizures: potassium and sodium are the electrolytes, these carry electrical signals from one cell to another. If the electrolytes are out of balance the electric signals merge electrical messages and there will be a loss of consciousness.
- Low blood volume stock. This is one of the most serious symptoms, and sometimes life-threatening. This also occurs when the low blood volume and the person will become unconscious.