2nd July 2021

Dehydration: The Facts

About Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in. When the normal water content of your body is reduced, it upsets the balance of minerals (salts and sugar) in your body, which affects the way it functions. Water makes up over two-thirds of the healthy human body. It lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps the skin healthy.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Adults and Children Include:

• feeling thirsty • dark yellow and strong-smelling pee • feeling dizzy or lightheaded • feeling tired • a dry mouth, lips and eyes • peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day

Dehydration Can Happen more Easily if You Have:

• diabetes • vomiting or diarrhoea • been in the sun too long (heatstroke) • drunk too much alcohol • sweated too much after exercising • a high temperature of 38C or more • been taking medicines that make you pee more (diuretics)

What to Do

If you're dehydrated, drink plenty of fluids such as water, diluted squash or fruit juice. These are much more effective than large amounts of tea or coffee. Fizzy drinks may contain more sugar than you need and may be harder to take in large amounts. If you're finding it difficult to keep water down because you're vomiting, try drinking small amounts more frequently. Infants and small children who are dehydrated shouldn't be given large amounts of water alone as the main replacement fluid. This is because it can dilute the already low level of minerals in their body too much and lead to other problems. Instead, they should be given diluted squash or a rehydration solution (available from pharmacies). You might find a teaspoon or syringe can be helpful for getting fluid into a young child. If left untreated, severe dehydration can be serious and cause fits (seizures), brain damage and death.

Thanks to our Senior HSQE Manager, Dale Nelson for all the facts and be sure to stay well hydrated, as the weather soars this Summer!