Beings made up mostly of water: sounds fishy. Actually, it’s us. Human beings need water so regularly that without the proper hydration we can become ill and even die.
In thousands of places around the world, access to clean and drinkable water is not available. In these places, starvation and dehydration are part of every day life.
In the parts of the world where clean drinking water comes right out of our tap or we purchase one water bottle after another, dehydration is still possible. In both the extremely young and the extremely elderly, dehydration is more of a risk factor in cases of hot weather, illness and immobility.
The access to water and replenishing fluids is crucial, so it’s of utmost importance that young children and the elderly have people around them to make certain they get the care and fluid replenishment they require.
Even in healthy adults, however, the possibility of dehydration can loom on the horizon. One easy rule of thumb to follow is the color of your urine. If it is a light color, that means you are getting enough fluids. However, if it is dark, that is a symptom of mild dehydration.
When exercising regularly, make certain you are drinking enough water before, during and after your exercise, since much of your fluids are lost when you sweat.
The following is a list of symptoms to be aware of for mild to moderate dehydraton:
- Dry mouth
- The eyes stop making tears
- Sweating may stop
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heart palpitations
- Lightheadedness (especially when standing)
- Decreased urine output
- Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
- Dry skin
Rehydrating with water or sports drinks, or, for young children, Pedialyte, is recommended.
Dehydration can be much more severe and in these cases is considered to be a medical emergency.
The following symptoms fall under this category:
- Little or no urination — any urine produced is dark yellow or amber
- Sunken eyes