First Aid Handbook: Dehydration

A man drinks some water
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We all know what thirst feels like, but we may not know how to tell the difference between extreme thirst and dehydration. This condition can come up unexpectedly and can lead to issues if not resolved immediately or correctly. Our team at Integrity Urgent Care has the information you need and ideas for how to fix dehydration if it occurs. 

What is dehydration?

In simplest terms, dehydration happens when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. Our body relies on the intake of fluid, primarily water, for a number of different functions. When we lose too much of that fluid in a short period of time or sustained over a longer period, our bodies cannot perform well. Some may experience dehydration after certain medical procedures or illnesses, others are at risk of dehydration with the use of certain medications, and it is possible to become dehydrated by not drinking enough fluids while working out or spending time in a warm environment. 

What are the symptoms?

Thirst can be a symptom of dehydration, but it isn’t always reliable. Better indicators of dehydration are less frequent urination, dizziness, fatigue, confusion, or, for young children, irritability and sunken eyes/soft spot. You should come see our team at Integrity if you have any of these symptoms. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic advises seeing a medical professional if someone “has had diarrhea for 24 hours or more or can’t keep down fluids.”

How can dehydration be treated?

If dehydration is in the early stage, it can be treated by increasing the intake of fluids and rest. Cool water will help replenish the body and provide the relief needed. Severe dehydration will need medical attention. Some patients will need intravenous fluids and medical observation to make sure their system can recuperate. You may want to avoid beverages like coffee, tea, and soda as they can increase your level of dehydration. 

How do you prevent dehydration?

Preventing dehydration is always key and the best way to handle any potential risk. If you are setting out for vigorous exercise, make sure you have plenty of water and a way to get a refill if needed. The warmer it is, the more water your body will need. Drinking adequate water before, during, and after exercise will keep you healthy. If you are sick, drink fluids as you can tolerate, even if you are vomiting or having diarrhea. Try to take small sips of fluids if your stomach is having a hard time holding anything and consider other fluids like popsicles or sports drinks. Both extreme cold weather and hot weather require a greater amount of water, due to dryness for cold weather and sweating in hot weather. Don’t forget that while thirst can be a gauge of your need to drink more, you may need to pay better attention in some cases to make sure you are staying ahead of the game. 

If you or your family needs help from dehydration, whatever the cause, visit one of our locations. We can quickly assess your needs and get you back on track. We take most major forms of insurance and have competitive self-pay rates while providing the best care. 

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