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The Dangers of Dehydration
It’s no secret that water is necessary for our survival. Our bodies are comprised of 60% water, therefore, hydrating on a consistent and regular basis plays a key role in overall health and wellness. In the hot months of summer, however, dehydration is one of the common ailments we see at ConvenientMD. Many people don’t realize just how dangerous it can be if left untreated.
If you are a parent, due to long days at summer camp or pushing through tryouts for the fall season in the heat, it’s important to know what to look out for and how to prevent dehydration. Here’s what you need to know about dehydration in order to keep you and your kids feeling your best through the remainder of summer.
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is quite literally the opposite of “hydration” in that it happens when there is too little water in the body to support optimal functionality. The human body loses varying amounts of water through activity, breathing, conversing and even sleeping. When this water is not replenished, dehydration occurs—it’s as simple as that. At its mildest, dehydration can be unpleasant. At its worst, the condition can be fatal.
Common causes of dehydration include:
- Not drinking enough water
- Heat exhaustion
- Intense physical activity
Those considered to be at “high-risk” for experiencing dehydration include athletes, the elderly and those who live at higher altitudes, as higher elevations can lead to faster loss of water from the body.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration?
Initial signs and symptoms of dehydration may be relatively mild, including thirst, decreased urine production and darkening of the urine. As the condition progresses and fluids are not replaced, however, a number of additional symptoms can occur. These may include:
- Dry mouth
- Muscle aches
- Dry skin
In extreme cases, fever, delirium and even unconsciousness may occur. These symptoms should be considered signs of a medical emergency, and treatment should be sought immediately.
Diagnosing and Treating Dehydration
Dehydration is usually simple to diagnose via physical examination and patient symptom reporting, which can be beneficial in creating a treatment plan. If severe dehydration is expected, treatment with IV fluids may be recommended. Additional at-home care is often sufficient to clear up mild-to-moderate cases of dehydration.
Four Tips for Preventing Dehydration
While the symptoms of dehydration can be extremely unpleasant, they’re also preventable. Here’s how to stay hydrated and avoid “drying up” when participating in outdoor activities this summer:
- Drink plenty of water. Drinking water is the key to hydration and will always be the first line of defense against experiencing symptoms of dehydration.
- Stop all activity if you begin to feel symptoms. “Pushing through” an instance of dehydration may lead to additional, worse symptoms, as well as complications such as heatstroke.
- Rest in the shade or a cool indoor space. Getting out of direct sunlight can help to halt the progression of dehydration symptoms.
- Bathe in cool water. This can help to bring your body temperature down and relieve symptoms as you work to rehydrate yourself by drinking more water.
Suffering From Dehydration? Get Treated Today at ConvenientMD!
If left untreated, severe dehydration can lead to heatstroke, which in turn can damage the brain and other vital organs throughout the body—it can even lead to death. If you or a family member experience symptoms of dehydration, stop into any ConvenientMD location in Maine, New Hampshire or Massachusetts to seek treatment. Our expert team of treating providers will help to create an effective treatment plan that will have you feeling better as quickly as possible.
Be sure to enjoy our last few weeks of warm weather, but don’t forget to take the steps to stay hydrated!