Emergency Care for Urgent Situations: Dehydration
It is common knowledge now that our bodies are made up of mainly water, some 55% to 60%. This means that for our bodies to continue functioning optimally and for normal functions to be carried out, you need to drink enough water. Dehydration is therefore what occurs when you lose more fluids than you take in which leads to a situation where your body doesn’t have enough fluids to be able to function properly. We constantly lose fluids even under normal circumstances, from sweating and through urine, and as such we need to have them replaced by taking in fluids such as drinking water and other beverages or else dehydration could ensue. Other causes of dehydration include severe vomiting and diarrhea, fever, too much exercise among others. It is also worth noting that there are certain groups of people that are at an increased risk of dehydration such as infants and young children, older adults, those taking medications that are diuretics as well as those with diabetes especially since high blood sugar can lead to frequent urination. Such people should be mindful of their fluid intake and ensure they keep dehydration at bay. Dehydration should always be taken seriously as if not treated, it could lead to serious complications such as brain damage and even death. This is why this article will look to highlight how you can be able to tell if you have dehydration and how you should proceed in such a situation.
The first thing to do is to evaluate your symptoms and hence establish how severe you dehydration really is. If you have moderate to mild dehydration, then you will notice symptoms such as a dry skin, a mouth that is dry or sticky as well as an increased feeling of thirst. You may also notice that you are not urinating much and when you do your urine is dark yellow in color. You may also develop a headache or muscle cramps. These are signs that your dehydration is still mild to moderate. If these are your symptoms, then you can be able to handle your dehydration at home. Some of the things you could do to treat your dehydration include taking in water as well as sports drinks that contain electrolytes. You should however slowly take in these fluids as taking them in in large amounts at once may be problematic for your health. Sipping and slowly drinking these fluids is the way to go. You should also stay away from drinks that have a diuretic effect such as coffee, sodas and other drinks with caffeine which may cause you to urinate more and lose even more fluids.
If your symptoms indicate that you have moderate to severe dehydration, then you need to seek emergency care and should either call 911 or go to the emergency room depending on your condition. Symptoms to look out for here include a rapid heartbeat and rapid breathing, a feeling of delirium, being irritable or confused, dizziness or light-headedness as well as fainting or a loss of consciousness. If someone has fainted or lost consciousness due to dehydration, you should call 911 as soon as possible so that they can get the emergency care they require. You should also check on your temperature and if you notice that your fever has spiked over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should also head over to an emergency room as soon as possible. Another sign that you need to head over to an emergency room as far as your dehydration is concerned is if you begin to experience chest or abdominal pain. This should be taken very seriously. If you are also unable to keep fluids down and you are either experiencing severe and persistent vomiting or diarrhea, then you should also head over to an emergency room so that you can be evaluated and so that the underlying cause of the diarrhea or vomiting can be treated.
It is also worth mentioning that since young children and infants can’t talk, there are unique signs that will let you know if they are suffering from dehydration. These include if your child is crying without tears, if they have gone a significant amount of time without wet diapers usually more than three hours, sunken eyes, a dry mouth and tongue, as well as if they are unusually drowsy, sleepy and generally inactive than normal. Dehydration in children should be taken very seriously, especially in infants under the age of 3 months and should lead to a visit to an emergency room for treatment. Once you receive treatment for dehydration, prevention is important to ensure you don’t fall back into the same trap. This means that you shouldn’t wait until you are thirsty or show signs of dehydration to drink water and should have a hydration plan that allows you to take in enough fluids and water. You should also ensure you take in more fluids when exercising or during a hot day or if you have fever, diarrhea or vomiting so as to stop dehydration from ensuing.
Hopefully, the discussion above will come in handy in helping you know when your dehydration is an urgent situation and how to proceed so as to ensure that you don’t suffer any unwanted consequences.