The risk of dehydration is particularly great in babies, children and the elderly. Because of this danger it’s very important to treat them immediately. Any case of dehydration has the potential to become a life-threatening situation.
Some of the more visible signs of dehydration include thirst, dark colored urine, lethargy or unexplained tiredness, dizziness, lack of tears when crying (mostly in children), headache, or blood in stool (mostly in children). You can also experience dehydration if you’re not drinking enough while doing strenuous activities.
When people become dehydrated as a result of illness or prolonged periods outdoors in the heat, it’s possible to use home remedies for treatment. However, these remedies should not replace immediate medical help when necessary.
Some options available to you are:
Lime juice: Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice, a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar to approximately 1 pint of water. Sip this all throughout the day.
Electrolyte replacement drink: Add 1 tablespoon of salt, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar or honey and – whole lemon juice or other unsweetened flavor powder or syrup to 1 liter of water and mix well. NOTE: Do not use artificial sweeteners to replace the sugar or honey.
Water based soups: Bouillons or stocks such as chicken or beef. For more substance, try adding some crushed soda crackers.
Flavored gelatins: Gelatins work well for rehydration, as their primary ingredient is water. The variety of flavors available enables you to provide a bit of variety.
Breast milk and formula: If you are breastfeeding your child, continue to do so even if baby is vomiting. If you are bottle feeding your child, start out with two days of electrolyte replacement followed by a day of half-strength formula. Return to full strength formula after one complete day.
BRAT diet: A diet of bananas, rice, apples and toast can be started when vomiting has ceased for at least four hours. Other simple starch items such as potatoes or noodles can also be used. Use this diet for adults and children who are already weaned.
Another way to help beat dehydration is by staying cool. Hot weather is especially dangerous for the elderly and infants. Start by removing excess clothing and switching to loose and light clothing instead.
Air conditioned environments are fantastic options for keeping body temperatures in the normal range, breaking any cycles of heat exposure. However, if air conditioning is not an option you can choose to use fans indoors. If you must be outside, choose a shaded area to lessen the heat.
Spray bottles or sprits bottles filled with lukewarm water can be used to refresh exposed areas of skin. The exposed skin surfaces will benefit from the cooling resulting from evaporation. It’s important, however, to steer clear of excessive cold. Ice packs or ice water applied to the skin can result in the skin’s blood vessels contracting. This will result in a decrease instead of increase in heat loss. Not to mention the shivering exposure to extreme cold causes – this in turn increases body temperature all over again.
From infants to the elderly, dehydration is a serious condition. By following these recommendations you will find yourself able to deal with the effects of dehydration should they strike you or others around you.