When Australia’s summer season is in full swing, the temperature can rise to dangerous levels. Without the proper knowledge, one can easily suffer from dehydration.
Learn more about this summer’s biggest threat and what you can do to prevent it from happening.
What is Dehydration
Dehydration is the absence of a sufficient amount of water in the human body. It happens when the body loses more fluids and electrolytes it can produce. Dehydration is a common effect of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. But it can also occur during wintertime. Other common factors that contribute to this condition are high fever and vomiting and taking certain medications (diuretics).
One can also become dehydrated by simply not drinking enough fluids, particularly water. Many people will be surprised at how common this condition is. A study shows that 80% of Australians live in a chronic state of dehydration and do not even know about it.
The human body needs more than just a few glasses of water. It requires electrolytes – which contains sodium, calcium, potassium, and chloride – to function well. These electrolytes are responsible for sending signals between the brain and organs. It also helps in maintaining adequate blood volume.
Without proper pH levels and electrolyte balance, a person can experience headaches, fatigue, and muscle pain.
How To Know if Someone is Dehydrated
The common signs of dehydration include:
- Extreme thirst
- Headache or dizziness
- Dry, irritated, or sensitive skin
- Muscle pain or cramps
- Less frequent urination
- Dark-coloured urine
Dehydration can lead to serious health complications. If left unrecognized, it can result in health injury, urinary and kidney problems, and low blood volume shock.
First Aid Treatment for Dehydration
To kick start treatment, begin with understanding the vital connection between electrolytes and your body. Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms is the key to providing proper first aid care.
- If signs of severe dehydration are present, call for emergency medical help as soon as possible. Severe dehydration is an emergency that can lead to life-threatening situations if not treated immediately. Delay in treatment may result in coma or, worse, death.
- While waiting for EMS to arrive, move the person to a cool area. Have the person lie down to help decrease body heat and prevent fainting.
- Apply cool and wet clothes on the critical areas of the person’s body. These include the neck and face area, armpits, inner thighs, and wrist. The cold application allows the body to avoid the possibility of heatstroke.
- Hydrate the person by giving sips of water or an electrolyte drink. Assist them in drinking to avoid sudden massive intake of fluid, which can cause vomiting.
You can essentially treat mild and moderate dehydration without visiting the ER. However, it is a good idea to follow up with your doctor after experiencing dehydration symptoms.
Preventing dehydration is way easier than treating it.
Drink as much water as you can, especially when going to spend time outdoors. Make sure to hydrate before doing any work or physical activity. If the temperature is hotter than a typical sunny day, try to avoid staying outdoors for a more extended period.
Avoid sugar and caffeinated drinks and opt to drink water instead. One essential tip to know if you are dehydrated is to check the colour of your urine from time to time. If the colour appears to be a darker shade, it means you need to do more water intake.
Dehydration can have severe consequences on one’s health. Staying hydrated is the key if you live in hot locations or have existing medical conditions that put you at a higher risk of getting dehydrated. Learn first aid treatment for dehydration if the symptoms become more evident.
Stay safe, calm and hydrated this summertime. If you or someone you know is feeling faint or having seizures along with other symptoms, call triple zero (000) or notify your health care provider immediately