WHAT IS DEHYDRATION?
Water is more than just a great thirst quencher. And it’s more than just a great way to cool off on a hot day.
Did you know that more than two-thirds of human body weight is water? All our body fluids contain a balance of water, sugar and salts, which is essential for normal body function and health. But if you are not replacing the lost fluids, you may become dehydrated.
DEHYDRATION DUE TO DIARRHEA OR VOMITING
Although dehydration can happen to anyone, some people are at a greater risk, including travelers, older adults and children. Travelers may be at risk of dehydration if they contract illnesses such as traveler’s diarrhea. For more information on what to do about dehydration while travelling, please visit our Travel section.
Children become dehydrated more quickly than adults1. This is explained by their higher metabolic rate, inability to communicate their needs or hydrate themselves, and increased insensible losses2.
In general, the elderly are more susceptible to dehydration because they have less water in their bodies than younger people. This also means that the onset of the symptoms of dehydration can happen more quickly. Additionally, elderly people may not notice that they are dehydrated, especially if they are taking medication or have other impairments such as dementia.
To prevent dehydration due to diarrhea or vomiting, be aware of fluid losses when you’re sick, and make sure you drink enough to replace what is lost. Many kinds of drinks and foods can replace lost water, but you should know that sweet drinks like juices and sodas are absorbed more slowly because of their sugar content. Sports drinks and sodas may also contain caffeine, which is dehydrating.
DEHYDRATION DUE TO HEAVY SWEATING
Sweating is a normal body process. It helps the body to cool down and maintain its temperature by allowing moisture to evaporate from the skin. This moist (or sweat) is mostly composed of the body’s water and various amounts of electrolytes. While most people naturally drink enough to replenish lost fluids during normal conditions, other conditions are more prone to dehydration due to heavy sweating. Among them:
- ⦿ Hot or dry environment
- ⦿ Strenuous/vigorous, prolonged exercise
- ⦿ Fever
Hot or dry environment
Weather is often top of mind when we think about traveling. However, did you know that many places in Canada have a high number of extreme heat events? Whether you are performing outdoor activities or working in the heat, overexposure to extreme temperatures can put your health at risk. Heat illnesses (such as dehydration) can affect you quickly, and can lead to serious health conditions. Remember that thirst is not always a good indicator of dehydration. The most important thing is to keep cool and hydrated.
Strenuous/vigorous, prolonged exercise
Fluid loss in endurance activities can be very significant. Most people lose as much as 1-2 L of fluid during 1 hour of exercise and athletes can lose even more! Being active comes with an increased need of fluid intake due to the fluids lost through sweat. Not drinking enough to replace sweat losses can quickly lead to dehydration.
A fever is a temporary increase in your body temperature above its normal range, often due to an illness. It may therefore be accompanied by the same body processes of heat dissipation such as it occurs with vigorous exercise or exposure to warm temperatures. Depending on what is causing the fever, symptoms may include sweating which can lead to dehydration. Children are more prone to dehydration than adults because they can lose relatively more fluid quickly.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DEHYDRATION
Dehydration may produce a variety of symptoms.
Recognize the signs and symptoms of dehydration in:
Infants or young children:
- ⦿ Few or no tears when crying
- ⦿ Dry, sticky mouth and tongue
- ⦿ Irritability
- ⦿ No wet diapers for three hours
- ⦿ Sunken eyes or cheeks or soft spot on the top of the skull
- ⦿ Dizziness or confusion
- ⦿ Fatigue or feeling sleepy
- ⦿ Extreme thirst
- ⦿ Less frequent urination and/or dark-coloured urine
Contact a physician if you or your child show signs of severe dehydration including symptoms of puffy eyelids, dizziness, fast heartbeat, irritability, muscle twitching, restlessness, swelling of feet or lower legs, weakness, changes to blood pressure, bloody or mucoid stools or seizure, the inability to keep down fluids, the presence of diarrhea for more than 24 hours, and/or the presence of bloody or mucus-like stools.
Effective dehydration treatment includes lost fluids and electrolytes replacement, which ensure proper body cell function, maintenance and growth. The chart below shows the main electrolytes and sugar, and some of their functions.
|Electrolyte / Sugar||Body Function|
⦿ Regulates the amount of water in the body
⦿ Necessary for many body functions, like transmitting electrical signals in the brain and muscles
⦿ Regulates how the heart beats
⦿ Helps maintain a balance of fluids in the body
⦿ Prevents the body’s tissues from getting too much or too little acid
⦿ Main type of sugar in the blood and the major source of energy needed to fuel the body’s functions
The choice of treatment depends on your age, how badly you are dehydrated and why Oral rehydration solution is a good treatment for mild to moderate dehydration as it restores essential fluids/body water, electrolytes and minerals.
But sometimes rehydration therapy isn’t the answer.
Get immediate medical care if you or your child experiences any of the following symptoms
- Vomiting or diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours and is accompanied by fever
- Symptoms of shock
- Inability to drink
- Greatly increased thirst
- Markedly decreased or absent urine output
- Sunken eyes
- Swelling of the feet or lower legs
- Bloody or mucus-like stools
Electrolyte Gastro® is a convenient, great tasting, instant-mix powder drink of balanced electrolytes that restores essential fluids/body water, electrolytes and minerals lost through diarrhea, vomiting, heavy sweating which can be caused by fever, hot or dry environment, strenuous/vigorous or prolonged exercise.
It is effective for restoring body water and minerals lost in diarrhea and vomiting. It can also prevent dehydration due to heavy sweating caused by fever, hot environment or prolonged exercise. It helps to treat electrolyte imbalance and return your body’s electrolyte balance to its normal state and to reverse mild to moderate dehydration.
And because Electrolyte Gastro® comes packaged in single-serving, easy-to-mix powder sachets, it’s very easy to take with you, no matter where you’re headed.
Ask your pharmacist about the benefits of Electrolyte Gastro®.