Every summer hundreds of people are rushed to the hospital with life threatening symptoms that are a result of acute dehydration. Dehydration is a condition that occurs when the loss of body fluids exceeds the amount that is taken in. With dehydration, more water is moving out of our cells and bodies than what we take in through drinking. During the hot summer months, it is a very real danger that we should all be aware of.
Most people think that if they are not sweating , they are not in danger of dehydration. That is not entirely true. We lose fluid when we breathe, go to the bathroom and through our skin- even when we do not see visible sweating. In fact, many people who have become dangerously dehydrated in the heat, do not report being active.
So it is important to be able to identify possible symptoms of dehydration so that immediate assistance may be rendered. The symptoms of dehydration are:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth and swollen tongue
- Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
- Sluggishness fainting
- Inability to sweat
- Decreased urine output
- Urine is concentrated and deeply yellow or amber
Rehydration is essential and water may not be enough. Sports drinks such as Gatorade, Coconut water and Jello-water are all good options to aid in rehydration. Sodas, teas and coffees should be avoided. In extreme emergencies where confusion or dizziness are present you may wish to administer the following Oral Rehydration recipe: mix 6 level teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 5 cups (or one liter) of clean water and have the person sip on this solution. If symptoms do not improve within a few minutes, seek emergency medical attention.
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