Dehydration occurs when the fluid the body loses is more than the fluid it takes. The body can lose fluid through medical conditions like fever, diarrhoea and bleeding and increased urination. Dehydration varies in both children and adults and can lead to complications if urgent attention is not taken to replace lost fluids especially if there is already a decline in body functions. Water is of extreme benefit in maintaining proper body functioning such as excretion, digestion, metabolism, circulation and electrolyte balance. If lost fluids aren’t replaced, dehydration results. Dehydration in adults can also be due to poor drinking behaviour, minor or major illnesses and medications.
Symptoms of Dehydration in Adults
- Extreme thirst
- Dark-colored urine
- Less frequent urination
- Dry Lips
- Cold clammy hands
- Dry hands
Remedies for Dehydration in Adults
- Water: Drink plenty of water regularly especially during any of the following:
- Physical activities
- Hot weather
According to the Institute of Medicine, healthy adult men living in a temperate climate need an adequate intake of about 13 cups (3 litres) of total beverages in a day. Healthy adult women need about 9 cups (2.2 litres) of total beverages a day.
- Oral rehydration salt: Prepare a homemade oral rehydration solution (ORS) to prevent dehydration especially when excess fluid is lost as in the case of vomiting and diarrhoea. This helps to promptly restore lost fluids and body electrolytes. This solution by WHO are available in sachets and gotten in any drug store. You can also prepare it locally through this process:
- Take 4 cups or 1 litre of clean water or a bottle of clean water
- Mix 1 teaspoon of table salt
- Mix 8 teaspoons of sugar
- Thoroughly mix and drink
- Drink enough of this solution until you recover completely
- Do not use preparation after 24 hours
- Ensure all items are clean before use
- Wash hands before preparing solution
- Fruits and Vegetables: These are rich sources of water, electrolytes, hydrating salts, sugars and minerals especially banana which is a rich source of potassium. According to a 2009 study done at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, fruits and vegetables that are high in water content hydrate the body twice as effectively as a glass of water. Examples of this fruits and vegetables with high water content include: bananas, watermelons, apples, papaya, lettuce and cabbage
- Yoghurt: A glass of yoghurt is an amazing source of electrolytes. It is easily digested and tolerated in cases of vomiting due to its soothing effect. A glass of plain yoghurt with cheese or strawberry is good for you.
- Coconut water: Though a few people might have objections to this, it is no doubt a good source of fluid and electrolyte which is notable for dehydration. The high electrolytes in coconut water make it a very hydrating drink. Coconut water is relatively low in calories and sugar. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, coconut water has a positive effect similar to sports drinks. Coconut water is rehydrating as it is easily reabsorbed by the body.
- Sports drinks: These are energising drinks used during exercise to rehydrate the body. They contain calories and salts which help provide energy to the cells of the body. They also contain glucose and fructose which, the body needs to replace body fuel used during physical activities.