CPR First Aid

The Symptoms of Dehydration

The Symptoms of Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your body uses or loses more fluid than it takes in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Severe dehydration can be life-threatening. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of dehydration and how to prevent it.

Dehydration can cause many different symptoms. Early signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, dark-coloured urine, and tiredness. You may also have headaches, muscle cramps, and dizziness. If you don’t drink enough fluids when you’re exercising or working in hot weather, you may develop heat illness, which can include heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

What Causes Dehydration?

As said earlier, dehydration happens when the body loses fluids. This loss of fluid can happen in a number of ways.

For starters, people can engage in rigorous physical activity that will make them sweat profusely. Add to this the hot Australian weather, and it can leave a person drained and dry. If these people fail to take hydration seriously, then it could leave the human body surely dehydrated.

There are many other factors that can contribute to this. Certain heat-related illnesses can contribute more to the loss of bodily fluids, with older adults being more susceptible. Conditions like diarrhoea or increased urination from diuretics can also have a similar effect. This urination can should also be monitored in children. A convenient way to check for this is if you are seeing a decrease in wet diapers for the past few hours.

One must note that these causes are things that people do each and every day. While we know what causes it, people may not always realise that it is already happening. This is why it is ideal to also understand the symptoms of being dehydrated.

As said earlier, dehydration happens when the body loses fluids. This loss of fluid can happen in a number of ways.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Dehydration symptoms are important to prevent further complications. You must know the difference between mild to moderate and severe dehydration symptoms.

In mild to moderate cases, the common signs are:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Dry mouth or dry skin
  • Headache
  • Decreased urination in adults and children
  • Increased body temperature
  • Muscle and heat cramps
  • Fatigue and lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure
  • High heart rate

If the condition progresses, signs of severe dehydration include:

  • No urination for several hours or urine is very dark
  • Confusion and irritability
  • Sunken eyes
  • Fainting or unconsciousness
  • Fever and chills
  • In infants and young children, sunken soft spot on top of the head

When your body doesn’t have enough fluids, it becomes unable to flush bacteria from your urinary tract. The different symptoms of dehydration that can lead to UTI are:

  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches

First Aid for Dehydration

So what should one do when responding to a dehydrated individual? Here are several things to keep in mind.

  • If signs of dehydration are identified early on, call emergency services immediately. While waiting, tend to the casualty.
  • Have the person drink water. Stay by their side and encourage to continuously drink clear liquids. Start them off with a few sips. Staying with them is also a good way to monitor their fluid intake. Apart from water, another good choice here would be an oral rehydration solution.
  • If the person is dehydrated due to heat-related reasons, place them in the shade and ensure they keep cool.
  • If a casualty is suffering from heatstroke, place a cool cloth or compress in the neck, face, waist, inner thigs, and armpits area to control their temperature.
  • Throughout all this time under your care, monitor the casualty’s vital signs. Check their heart rate, body temperature, and respiration rate.

Take these to heart as you may need to help a dehydrated individual down the line. With that said though, remember that prevention is always better than a cure. It is much better for people to stay hydrated than to deal with the potential complications of dehydration down the line.

So what should one do when responding to a dehydrated individual? Here are several things to keep in mind.

 

Complications of Dehydration

Based on Mayo Clinic, you can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment. The safest approach is preventing dehydration in the first place. Be aware of the fluid you lose during hot weather, illness or exercise, and drink enough liquids to replace what you’ve lost. If severe dehydration happens complications listed below might happen: 

  • Heat injury – If you don’t drink enough fluids when you’re exercising vigorously and perspiring heavily, you may end up with a heat injury, ranging in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion or potentially life-threatening heatstroke.
  • Swelling of the brain (cerebral oedema) – Sometimes, when you’re getting fluids again after being dehydrated, the body tries to pull too much water back into your cells. This can cause some cells to swell and rupture. The consequences are especially grave when brain cells are affected.
  • SeizuresElectrolytes — such as potassium and sodium — help carry electrical signals from cell to cell. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and sometimes to a loss of consciousness. This is why lost fluids must be replaced by drinking plenty of water, sports drinks, or an electrolyte solution.
  • Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock) – This is one of the most serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body.
  • Kidney failure – This potentially life-threatening problem occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to remove excess fluids and waste from your blood.
  • Coma and death – When not treated promptly and appropriately, severe dehydration can be fatal.

What is a Sore Throat?

According to Healthdirect, a sore throat, or pharyngitis, is when the throat is red, swollen and painful, especially when you swallow. It happens when the back of the throat, called the pharynx, is inflamed.

Usually, sore throats go away without treatment within 3 to 4 days. Seek medical attention if:

  • you have trouble breathing or swallowing (or if your baby is drooling)
  • you have a stiff or swollen neck
  • you have a high fever
  • you have a rash
  • you feel very unwell or the sore throat is getting worse

According to Healthdirect, a sore throat, or pharyngitis, is when the throat is red, swollen and painful, especially when you swallow. It happens when the back of the throat, called the pharynx, is inflamed.

Can Dehydration Cause Sore Throat?

According to Healthline, the dryness in your throat may simply be a sign that you haven’t had enough to drink. When you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t produce as much of the saliva that normally moistens your mouth and throat.

Dehydration can also cause:

  • dry mouth
  • increased thirst
  • darker urine, and less urine than usual
  • fatigue
  • dizziness

First Aid for Sore Throat

  • Drink liquids, at least 64 ounces (8 cups or 2 litres) per day to stay hydrated.
  • You can eat fruits and vegetables that could make you stay hydrated. These contain a lot of water that can keep you hydrated day in and day out. It also contains essential nutrients.
  • Gargle with warm salt-water. According to New York Times, there is a benefit in gargling warm salt-water.
  • Take pain relievers when needed.
  • Keep your throat moist by using a vaporizer or sucking on throat lozenges or ice 
  • Refrain from smoking. Smoking makes it hard to eliminate mucus and may predispose you to bronchitis or pneumonia. This would be a good time to consider quitting — See Tobacco Cessation Help. If you choose not to quit, try not to smoke during your illness.

First Aid Courses in Brisbane

Risks of dehydration, hypertension and hypotension can be prevented. Early detection of signs and symptoms will help you manage it. If you are interested in enrolling in a first aid course in Brisbane, contact CPR First Aid for more information.

CPR First aid courses and training are open to all since emergency situations such as complications caused by dehydration can happen to all ages, anywhere in Australia. HLTAID010 Provide an emergency first aid response Providing basic emergency life support is one of our popular courses. Contact us anytime for your queries.

Conclusion

Staying hydrated can save you from complications of dehydration. Drink liquids, at least 64 ounces (8 cups or 2 litres) per day to keep your throat moist and prevent complications like sore throat. It’s very important to stay hydrated, it even has health benefits. Also, there are fruits and vegetables that could make you stay hydrated. These contain a lot of water that can keep you hydrated day in and day out. It also contains essential nutrients. Make sure that you get enough water each day, and nutritious fruits and vegetables. It’s one of the best things you can do for your overall health. 

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