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A man in his 30s, wearing a grey t-shirt, has a white towel around his shoulders, as though just having worked out. He is drinking from a bottle of water. The word – Dehydration – is showing

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If you’re feeling thirsty, then you might be a little dehydrated. However, dehydration goes a lot further than just needing a glass of water; it can be a serious condition that, if left untreated, can lead to further health issues.

Specific age groups, such as the elderly, children and babies, are most at risk of dehydration. There are also certain health conditions that can cause dehydration more quickly, such as diabetes.

There are some common signs that warn you if you are becoming dehydrated and they are:

Fluid Intake

Dehydration means that the body is losing more fluids than you are putting in. One of the main reasons why this condition occurs is from not drinking enough fluids.

Water is vital to help the body function properly, and if it doesn’t get enough to replenish your systems each day, then it can start to affect your health.

Sickness and Diarrhoea

When you are sick, the body loses vital fluids through vomiting and diarrhoea. If you experience this, then upping your water intake to counteract the loss of fluid is essential.

Sun Exposure

If you’re out in the sun, then increasing your water intake is a good idea. Warm weather will make you sweat more, thus fluid is lost from the body.

Excessive Exercise

Increased fluid intake is vital when exercising, as water is lost through sweat. It is also essential to keep your water intake regular if working out for prolonged periods.

Drinking Alcohol

Although alcohol is technically a fluid, it actually causes dehydration. This is one of the major factors why people experience hangovers the next day.

Taking Medicine

Some medicines can cause the body to urinate more frequently. This type of medicine is also known as diuretic. If you are prescribed these, it is essential to drink lots of fluids to replace the lost water.

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When the body is dehydrated, there are some symptoms that both children and adults may experience. These include:

  • Dark, or yellow urine
  • Dry mouth, lips and eyes
  • Feeling sluggish and tired
  • Dizziness, or light-headedness
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Infrequent urination, or less than four times a day.

Most people may experience these symptoms at points in their life, and in the short term, they can be alleviated in a few simple ways. If they are experienced for prolonged periods, then it is best to seek medical advice to rule out other health issues.

How to Prevent Dehydration

Dehydration could mean that the body is lacking in vital salts, sugars and minerals. This is also often prevalent if you are vomiting, or have diarrhoea. The simple ways to ensure the body has sufficient fluid intake throughout the day and during periods of sickness are:

Drink More!

It’s pretty simple, but most people don’t do it enough. Drinking more water throughout the day can help to reduce the occurrences of dehydration. Plus, it will ensure you feel healthy and refreshed.

If drinking is difficult because of sickness, it is still important to try and drink as much as possible to aid recovery. In this instance, try sipping small amounts of water and build up the amount you drink to help up your intake.

As an indicator, you should try to make sure your urine is a pale clear colour when you go to the toilet. If it is not, then you have more of a chance of becoming dehydrated.

In the summer months, or when physical activity is undertaken, drinking more is vital, as more water will be lost from the body from sweating.

Avoid Prolonged Exposure In The Sun

It’s natural to want to enjoy the sunshine. Still, prolonged exposure without sufficient fluid intake could cause heatstroke. Avoid the hottest part of the day and try to drink more water, especially if you are exercising in the sunshine.

Drink When You’re Thirsty

Although this may seem an obvious point, it’s surprising how many people don’t drink enough. If your body is telling you it’s thirsty, such as your mouth feels dry, or you experience light-headedness, it’s time to get a drink! Try and carry a water bottle with you at all times to remind yourself to keep fluid levels up.

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Some people may experience dehydration more than others. If you care for someone else, it can be challenging to gauge how much they drink during the day. There are some simple ways to help someone you care for, such as providing drinks during mealtimes.

Drinks at mealtimes can help to encourage drinking more without it feeling like a chore. It doesn’t have to be water; it could be soft drinks, too, depending on the diet and requirements of the individual.

Make Drinking a Social Activity

A lot of people like a cup of tea, so to help others drink more frequently, make it into a social activity. Sitting down with a group of family, or friends, and catching up with a cup of tea is the perfect way to help people who struggle to get a sufficient water intake.

Prepare Food With High Water Content

Another handy way to increase water intake is to prepare foods with high water content – soup, ice-lollies, or fruits, such as melon, are great options.

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Medical terms are often baffling and difficult to fully understand. To help, we have listed some frequently used terms below.

Diuretics – medication designed to increase the amount of water and salt expelled by the body

Heatstroke – a condition that includes symptoms, such as fever and sometimes unconsciousness, due to the body’s inability to regulate temperature