I’ve talked about why you should be drinking water already, and in this blog I want to highlight what happens when we don’t drink enough.
If we have more fluid leaving our bodies (through breathing, sweating, digestion, urine, vomiting etc.) than we have coming in this upsets our natural balance of minerals and we can become dehydrated.
The first signs of this are feeling thirsty. Our bodies don’t want us to get dehydrated, so the first line of defence is telling our brains we feel thirsty. This thirst response reminds us we need to drink, and if we listen to this impulse then that should be the end of it. Drink goes in, body is happy, brain gets the message that we have done the right thing.
If this sign is ignored and we don’t take in fluid it can lead to you experiencing dark yellow and strong-smelling urine, headache, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, feeling tired, a dry mouth, lips and eyes, urinating fewer than 4 times a day. In babies the signs to look out for are a sunken fontanelle (soft spot) on their heads, less tears when they cry and fewer than normal dry nappies.
Doesn’t sound like fun, does it, especially when a simple glass of water can help stop this.
If left untreated severe dehydration can lead to death, so here are a few things to keep in mind. On hot days keep a bottle of water on your desk or in your bag and sip at it regularly. If you are experiencing a stomach bug it can be hard to keep your fluid intake in line with what our body needs to expel, in this case small sips of water can help you keep the balance your body needs. If your child is dehydrated try giving them water with a small spoon or syringe and go to a doctor straight away.
This advice is meant in very general terms, as I’m not a GP, but if you think you are suffering dehydration make sure you speak to your doctor as soon as possible and increase your water intake.