Water makes up more than half of our body weight. Its’ two most essential functions are maintaining body temperature and removing waste from the body. Staying hydrated is VERY important.
We need to drink water every single day. Most healthy people stay hydrated by drinking water and other fluids only when they feel thirsty, whilst others need to top up with up to 8 glasses of water daily.
We lose water when we urinate, when we breathe, and when we sweat (especially when we exercise or in hot weather). People with a fever will lose more water, and those with vomiting and/ or diarrhoea are at very high risk of dehydrating.
If you are dehydrated you will have not only lost water, but also sugar and salts (electrolytes) that control functions in the body responsible for keeping us alive!! This is why it is important to add rehydration supplements to water when rehydrating. Rehydration products contain the sugars and salts in the correct proportions for your body.
SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION:
- Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than normal
- Dry mouth
- Feeling tired and sleepy
- Extreme thirst
- Crying without tears (infants)
TIPS FOR MAINTAINING OPTIMAL HYDRATION:
- Make sure you are getting enough fluids and elctrolytes no matter what activity you are engaged in
- Keep a bottle of water with you during the day and refill it regularly. Add a slice of lemon to make it more palateable.
- Don’t wait until you are thirsty, drink water frequently.
- Keep a couple of rehydration sachets hand at all times no matter where you are.
A VERY IMPORTANT TIP: When making up your rehydration fluid, go strictly according to the instructions. Making the solution more concentrated (ie by not adding enough water) you will make the dehydration worse!
It is very important to drink plenty of fluids if you are suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting, sunburn, or even just a fever:
- Drink small amounts of fluids OFTEN.
- If you can’t keep fluids down see a doctor as soon as possible.
- If you are dehydrated you MUST add electrolytes to your water.
- Diarrhoea and vomiting in babies and young children is EXTREMELY SERIOUS because in a few hours they can lose a great deal of fluids. This results in dehydration which in severe cases can lead to sunken eyes, drowsiness, confusion and even DEATH.
IT IS BETTER TO PREVENT RATHER THAN TREAT DEHYDRATION.