We’ve all heard the warnings to drink plenty of water, especially during exercising or hot weather to prevent dehydration. So what happens if you realize you’re dehydrated, despite your best efforts?
Dehydration is common especially during hot weather. Anytime you lose fluids (either through sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea) you are at risk for developing dehydration, unless the fluids are replaced. Many people already are in a perpetual state of mild or borderline dehydration, especially with the popularity of coffee beverages and sodas.
Dehydration can be serious, and in babies, small children, or older adults it can be more serious. People with celiac disease or diabetes also need to pay particular attention.
It is important to notice the warning signs: thirst, dry lips and mouth, fatigue or weakness, muscle cramps, headache, dark/strong smelling urine or lack of urine, constipation, profuse sweating, and rapid heartbeat, loss of breath or rapid breathing.
You can treat mild to moderate dehydration at home.
- Stop any activity and rest in a cool, shaded, or air conditioned area.
- Prop feet up.
- Remove excess clothes.
- Drink water or sports drink to replace fluids and minerals. Pedialyte® may be used according to the product directions, for young children and infants consult your pediatrician. According to Everyday Health, adults and children over twelve should have two quarts of water over the next two to four hours.
The American Red Cross provides this recipe for Electrolyte drink (this drink should only be given to those older than 12):
1 quart of water
½ teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of table salt
3-4 tablespoons of sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt substitute, that is potassium based
Mix well and flavor with lemon juice or sugar –free Kool-Aid®
- Don’t drink anything with caffeine or alcohol.
For newborns and children under one
- Breastfed infants should be nursed more often.
- For formula fed infants, the formula should sufficient and should still be mixed as directed on the package. It shouldn’t be watered down. Consult with your pediatrician for advice.
- An oral rehydration solution like Pedialyte® may be given for mild or moderate rehydration, upon advice from a medical professional. The amount depends on baby’s weight and how much dehydration there is.
- If the baby eats cereal, you can replace lost fluids with cereal mixed with mild or water. Strained bananas or mashed potatoes may help too.
Call 911 if there is any loss of consciousness, confusion, seizures, rapid pulse or rapid breathing. If you notice dehydration symptoms worsening, decreased alertness, dizziness, lightheadedness, or feel like passing out you should seek medical attention.
It should also be noted that if anyone has difficulty swallowing or is confused & disoriented and could have difficulty swallowing do not give them anything by mouth. Of course do not try to give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.