Heatwave, intense sport, fever, diabetes, overdose on diuretics. Or simply insufficient water intake. Dehydration can have multiple causes, but especially serious consequences if it is not remedied quickly. So how to avoid it, recognize it and cure it?
Dehydration: The Definition
We are beings of flesh, of blood, but above all of water. At birth, the human body is composed of water at 80 %, then at 65% in adulthood, to finish at 50% on his old age.
Our body cannot function without water and mineral salts: dehydration refers to its lack. Indeed, the human body does not know how to store water as do some plants or animals (think cacti and camels). It constantly removes it through breathing, urine and sweating.
It is therefore necessary to hydrate regularly during the day to compensate for this loss of natural water.
How Do We Get to Dehydration?
If the water losses are excessive and are not compensated by an intake (drinking or consuming foods rich in water), you become dehydrated. This phenomenon usually occurs as a result of diarrhea, vomiting, intense exertion or in periods of high heat.
The consumption of alcohol, coffee or diuretic drugs can also be a factor in dehydration.
Finally, high fever, or diabetes (causing high blood sugar) are also recognized causes.
What Are the Symptoms to Watch Out For?
The first signs of dehydration are dry lips and a feeling of thirst (often unobtrusive and delayed in the elderly, hence the danger of forgetting to drink). This is followed by unusual fatigue and loss of strength, a decrease in appetite or even a slight fever. This can even cause weight loss.
In infants, the symptoms are particular and should be closely monitored as water loss can be rapid. In case of signs of dehydration in your child, you should immediately consult a doctor:
- rapid breathing
- abnormal drowsiness
- pale face and surrounded eyes
- unusual behavior
- sunken Fontanel
How to React?
In case of dehydration without discomfort and abnormal fatigue, it is simply necessary to rehydrate orally by drinking water, in small amounts to begin with.
But in case of vomiting or loss of consciousness, unconsciousness in a young child or an elderly person, it is necessary to place the person in a safe lateral position contact the rescue, as in the case of a sunstroke. Intravenous infusion rehydration may be necessary, or oral rehydration solutions (ORS) may be required.
Troubleshooting if you do not have a pharmacy nearby to get it, mix a little sugar and salt in a liter of drinking water or drink a cola: this allows the body to better assimilate and retain water in these circumstances. In case of diarrhea, a diet based on cooked carrots and rice can be put in place.
Dehydration can have serious consequences, up to coma or even death. But do not panic: it is easy to avoid. Here are the good reflexes to adopt, especially in summer:
- drink water regularly throughout the day, hydrate before feeling thirsty (especially in the elderly).
- eat foods rich in water.
- reduce your coffee and alcohol consumption in the summer.
- practice sports outside the hot hours.
- ventilate at home and keep cool with the shutters closed in hot weather.
- putting green plants at home to produce more freshness.
- do not expose yourself to the sun in hot hours.