One physiological event that most people have gone through is the loss of body water or dehydration. Many different events can cause dehydration to occur but it is important to catch the signs before it becomes worse. Dehydration occurs when the total amount of water in the body begins to diminish without being replenished. Mild dehydration tends to occur from time to time without any significant consequences. Along without other important organs of the body, water plays a huge role. Those who are more at risk of developing dehydration are the elderly and young children, especially infants.
So, how can you even tell if your body is dehydrated? There are plenty of warning signs that the body gives before dehydration becomes a serious problem. One of the most common signs of dehydration is feeling thirsty. The need to drink water comes automatically when one starts to become dehydrated. Infants and young child have similar signs of dehydration as adults. Signs of dehydration for an infant or young child that may differ than adults are: no tears when crying, no wet diapers for a least 3-4 hours, sunken eyes and sunken fontanelle (soft spot on the top of the skull). Take a look below for other common and early signs of dehydration.
- Decreased urine flow
- Darker urine
- Dry mouth
- Dry Skin
- Decreased tears
If a person has not noticed these early signs of dehydration, the body will continue to give off more serious signs. The signs of severe dehydration include:
- No urine low
- Inability to walk
- Reduced blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Poor skin elasticity
- Bloody or black stool
Sometimes dehydration just happens and we are not even aware that it has occurred. Some of the most natural ways that we can lose water in the body are: sweating, urinating and having a bowel movement. These are normal day-to-day activities that cause the body to lose water. These activities usually do not warrant a trip to the Emergency Room to get rehydrated. You will automatically eat and drink throughout the day and the body becomes replenished with water. Read on to better understand the causes of dehydration.
- Excess sweating
- Dietary intake and/or supplements
- Increased urination
- Alcohol use/abuse
- Inability to keep down fluids
- Irritable bowel syndrome
How To Get Hydrated
The important thing to remember about dehydration is knowing what to do when dehydrated. A minimal loss of less than 3 percent of a person’s weight will not cause dehydration. As the water outtake begins to exceed the intake, at less than 10% of the body weight a person will experience mild signs. Severe dehydration occurs at a rate of more than 10% loss of water that is more than a person’s body weight.
Treating infants, children and the elderly with dehydration may include a trip to the pharmacy for over-the-counter oral rehydration medication. Increasing their intake of minerals by offering more liquids with minerals will help increase water intake. Popsicles with no sugar is a refreshing way for children to increase their water intake. People of all ages should avoid caffeine, juice, milk, tea and clear broths when they are dehydrated. None of these liquids offer the proper sugar and salt electrolytes needed to increase your body’s water intake. Eating foods such as broccoli, celery, spinach, oranges, cantaloupe, watermelon and tomatoes can naturally alleviate dehydration.
The next 24 hours after dehydration is critical and it is important to continue hydrating yourself throughout these hours. Even if your mind tells you that you are not thirsty, keep drinking. Drinking small sips of fresh fruit juices can help keep dehydration at bay. Drinks that contain electrolytes such as sports drinks can help decrease dehydration.
It is important that a person drinks the minimum requirements of water and/or other fluids per day. Weight plays a major role in distinguishing how many ounces of fluid one must take in during the day. For example, if a person weighs 150 pounds, there daily intake of fluids should be roughly 65 ounces. Infants and children are easy targets for dehydration becomes their bodies are smaller and hold less water. To prevent dehydration, drink the proper amount of fluids per day. If you or your child is experiencing vomiting and/or diarrhea seek medical attention to prevent dehydration.