The Dangers of Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body loses water faster than its being replenished.  It can be caused by losing too much fluids, not drinking enough water/fluids or a combination of both.

What causes dehydration?

There are many causes of dehydration, but some of the most common reasons include:

·         Vomiting

·         Diarrhea

·         Excessive urine output

·         Excessive sweating

·         Fever 

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

Symptoms of dehydration vary, but the most prominent signs to look for are:

·         Decrease in urination

·         Dry mouth and throat

·         Feeling dizzy upon standing

·         Not producing tears

·         Sunken eyes

·         Lethargic or comatose

·         Low blood pressure

·         Rapid heart rate

It is important to get treatment as soon as you notice these signs and symptoms because without immediate treatment, dehydration can lead to life-threatening complications. 

What treatment is available for dehydration?

Treatment for dehydration typically consists of rehydrating your body. You can do this by drinking small amounts of fluids rather than a large amount at one time, so that your body can more easily absorb the fluids.  You can also help yourself retain more fluids by drinking electrolyte solutions or freezer pops.  Under severe circumstances, IV fluids and/or hospitalization may be necessary.  

How can you prevent dehydration?

One of the most important ways you can prevent dehydration is by not waiting until you are thirsty to drink water. You should be drinking plenty of fluids all day long. Similarly, you should drink more when the weather is hot or you are exercising.  Another tip to prevent dehydration is to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages such as sweet tea and soda.  You also shouldn’t partake in activities where you risk losing large amounts of fluids during the hottest hours of the day.  This means be wary of sports on the beach in the middle of the day under the sweltering sun.

It is normal for us as humans to excrete a certain amount of water each day. Water escapes from the body as water vapor every day as we breathe, or exhale, and as we excrete fluids through sweat, urine, and stool. Other than water, small amounts of salts are also excreted. However, when we lose too much water, our bodies can become dehydrated. This can lead to certain health problems and in severe cases, can lead to death.