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Drink Up, Your Life Depends On It

Hot summer days are a fun reprieve from the brutal winter. Unfortunately, more time outdoors often results in more visits to our Urgent Care. 

Over the years I’ve gotten the same questions and concerns regarding the most prevalent summer-related medical problems.

One such common issue is dehydration.

Especially when there’s a heatwave and the humidity can be cut with a knife, the excessive sweating depletes your hydration.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” There isn’t a more apt way of letting you know how easily dehydration can be prevented.

Simply start your day by drinking water with electrolytes such as Powerade, Gatorade, and Vitamin Water.

Well, what exactly is dehydration?

Dehydration is when more water leaves the body than the body takes in. When you sweat, water leaves your body. If you’re not replenishing that supply you increase your risk of dehydration.

Causes include sweating, excessive vomiting, frequent urination, diarrhea, and fever.

Our bodies are composed of 75% water. We need water plus electrolytes to survive because it helps balance the chemicals that keep our bodies working. We can survive weeks without food but only days without water.

Water is found in our cells, within our cells, and outside our cells. It’s literally in our whole body. And that’s a good thing because it helps us flush waste, form saliva for food intake which fuels us, lubricates our joints, and cushions our spinal cord and brain.


Symptoms:

What happens when we release more water than we take in? 

The body needs to preserve that water to support our vital organs such as the heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. 

So your initial symptoms may present themselves as thirst, headache, and decreased urine output. Interesting to note, very often when you crave sweets it’s your body letting you know it’s thirsty.

However, as the body continues to protect itself your mouth may feel dry and the chemical buildup will cause poor breath. Your mood will change and you can experience dizziness when standing up. You very likely will stop sweating and your body may become clammy. You will experience muscle cramps as a result of circulation being preserved for your vital organs.

Low blood pressure and a fast heart rate is not only a common symptom but the alarming vital signs of dehydration.

As your dehydration increases so do your symptoms.

Severe dehydration may manifest itself as feeling faint with confusion and weakness as the other body organs receive less blood flow.

It is potentially life-threatening and can lead to organ failure. Immediate medical attention is needed.

Dehydration treatment is simple. Replenish fluids and electrolytes. 

If you feel dehydrated, find a cool spot and drink 3-4 cups of water with electrolytes in ten minutes. You should start feeling better within an hour or so. To completely rehydrate your body can take up to thirty-six hours.

 

It’s important to hydrate before you leave the house. Eating foods with a high water content such as cucumbers, watermelon, and other fruits and vegetables will help you stay hydrated.

 

At Chai Care, severe hydration is treated with IV fluids that are a combination of water, sodium, and electrolytes. IV fluid is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and will help you feel better in a short time span.

 

Prevention:

Dehydration caused by excessive sweating due to heat or physical activity is easily prevented. 

It’s important to drink before, during, and after you’re active.

Sports drinks are full of electrolytes but they’re full of sugar too. If you do reach for it, dilute it with water.

Either way, water is in abundance and a great way to remain hydrated. 

The same can be said for alcoholic beverages — limit those as well.

Now you’re well informed on how important and how easy it is to remain hydrated. With Tisha Baav being this Sunday the time to start properly hydrating your body is now. 

Spend your day indoors or in a cool place because sweating makes you release water and it can’t be replenished.





Dr. Shlomie Goldberg, P.A. of Chai Care is an expert in emergency care with over 22 years of experience working in the Emergency Room.

 

Author
Shlomie Goldberg, PA Chai Care PA, expert in emergency care with over 22 years of experience working in the Emergency Room.

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