Dehydration: Overview, Symptoms and Cure

It is summer and people are facing higher temperatures day by day. Various diseases and ailments result from excessive heat, but none turns more serious than loss of body fluids or dehydration. Dehydration is the loss of water along with essential salts from the body. It is a state when the amount of loss of fluid overshoots the amount of fluid going into the body. Hot humid weather and excessive work can easily dehydrate you and the children are the ones most prone to such situations.

Normally the percentage of water in the body of people ranges from 50 to 65% and all the essential body processes are maintained by this fluid balance. If there is noticeable reduction then it is a cause of concern.

In the early stages the symptom is extreme thirst and the children become irritable. As dehydration settles in, the person may feel weak and lethargic and even this thirst will get lost. Dry and chapped lips, dryness of the oral cavity, drying of eyes and restlessness are the initial signs of dehydration. As it gets severe it is marked by slower pulse rate, shallow breathing and bluish, cold skin. Loss of sodium and potassium can cause nausea and muscle cramps and at an advanced stage can result in shock and damage to internal organs.

Take special care of the children as dehydration can set in extremely fast in them. A good way to find out if your child is dehydrated is to pinch the abdominal skin. If it returns to normal immediately then he or she is safe. But if it takes time, it is time to take precautionary measures and start treatment for dehydration.

Whenever you find any of the above symptoms, start giving the affected person oral rehydration solution. The very basic solution consists of half teaspoon salt and eight tablespoon of sugar in one liter of previously boiled and cooled down water. You can also give the rehydration salts available in packets. In the case where the person cannot be administered the solution through oral route, it should be sent in through tubes to the stomach. In more serious cases intravenous rehydration is needed.

Those people taking part in strenuous physical activities and those suffering from conditions like diabetes are in the risk zone and should be extra careful so as not to fall a victim of dehydration.