Dehydration symptoms and what you can do about it
We spend over 30% of our day working, whether it’s in a warehouse, on the road, at an office, or even at home. We are all busy and our days sometimes fly by — including doing the things that are essential for our own health. It is thus very typical for us to fall short on our daily water intake as a result.
We are constantly desiring more water since our bodies contain up to 60% of water and we continue to lose water throughout the day as a result of our environment, physical activity, genetic makeup, and even via the vapour in the breath we exhale.
Dehydration is a serious issue that must not be overlooked, therefore keep an eye out for these dehydration symptoms.
How does dehydration occur
Dehydration happens when we don’t drink enough water to compensate for what we lose. Dehydration can be caused by the weather, how active you are (particularly in hot weather), and your diet.
Dehydration can also be caused by an illness, such as persistent vomiting and diarrhoea or perspiration from a fever.
Symptoms of dehydration:
- Bad breath
- Dry mouth and lips
- Low energy throughout the day
- Thirst (the most obvious sign)
- Severe drop in fluid output (you pee a lot less)
- Dark yellow pee
Note that dehydration is more likely to occur if you have:
- Drunk lots of alcohol without hydrating yourself sufficiently
- Been taking medications that are causing you to pee more
- Have a fever / high temperature of above 38C
- Loss a lot of water through perspiration after an intense exercise
Do your body checks:
(1) Check the colour of your urine
Although a dark colour of urine can be due to dehydration (or some other medical issues), having urine that is too light in colour isn’t always a good thing either.
Make sure you know what colour your urine indicates about your health and what colour implies that you’re properly hydrated.
(2) Test your skin
A simple workout that you can do is pinch the skin on the back of your hand, between your wrist and finger, and lift it up. Now, let go. If your skin falls back down at a slow rate, there’s a chance that you need more water in your body.
How to reduce the risks of dehydration
Drink fluids when you feel any dehydration symptoms.
If you find it hard to drink because you feel sick or have been sick, start with small sips and then gradually drink more.
You can use a spoon to make it easier for your child to swallow the fluids.
You should drink enough during the day so your pee is a pale clear colour.
Drink when there’s a higher risk of dehydrating. For example, if you’re vomiting, sweating or you have diarrhoea.
Some tips of encouraging fluid intake – for kids or elderly:
- Make sure one has something to drink at mealtimes
- Make social drinking a habit, like “having tea”
- Offer your children food with a high water content, such as soups, jellies, or fruits
Taking note of your children with dehydration
To avoid dehydration, the under-5s should have plenty of water. It is quite typical for young children to become dehydrated. It can be critical if it isn’t treated immediately.
Take your baby to the A&E ward if you notice these signs:
- They seem drowsy
- They have heavy breathing for a prolong period of time
- They have little to no tears when they cry
- They have a soft spot on their head that sinks inwards
- They have a dry mouth
- They have dark yellow pee
- They have not peed in the last 12 hours
- They have cold blotchy looking hands or feet for prolong period of time