Dehydration – Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
Dehydration affects all populations in the world. Diarrhea, vomiting, dry mouth are all observable signs of dehydration. The danger is further present when it affects young children and the elderly. Moreover, these are the developing country most affected.
Definition of Dehydration
Dehydration is not a “disease,” severely speaking; it is a physiological state with critical consequences. This physiological state then consequences from a consequent liquid decrease within the body. Dehydration can be due to malnutrition or severe diarrhea.
In the case of a situation of dehydration, this liquid, in quantity lower than average, consists essentially of water and mineral salts. Dehydration can affect anyone, but extraordinary thoughtful must agree to young children and the elderly.
The Causes of Dehydration
- Diarrhea, the main effect of dehydration, is caused by:
- lack of hygiene;
- malnutrition, especially about “water-rich” foods;
- contact and hydration with contaminated water.
- Bacteria can cause dehydration, such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, or even E.Coli. But also viruses, such as Rotavirus. These living organisms responsible for a diarrheal state are easily transmitted from one individual to another, mainly by hand-carrying or ingesting contaminated water or food.
What are the Symptoms of Dehydration?
The elderly no longer feel thirsty; there is a significant risk of missing out and letting dehydration evolve. At first, it may be a simple thirst. But babies powerless to express themselves other than by crying – not always well interpreted! In this case, other warning signs add.
- Dehydration is apparent through sure specific signs, including:
- less need to urinate;
- the absence of tears;
- dry tongue, parched lips, and skin;
- “grayish” skin;
- a depression of the fontanelle (a soft part of the skull of the infant);
- Diarrhea vomiting is the most demonstrative sign.
Diarrhea, linked to a state of dehydration, is common in kids and infants. In addition, they usually are scarce and of short duration. It must consider carefully to avoid any more severe consequences in any other case.
Other symptoms can also accompany this diarrheal state: fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or even abdominal cramps. The blood in the stool testifies to significant dehydration; this is the most alarming state.
People Affected by Dehydration
It is more prevalent in developing countries. The reason is the lack of access to clean water or even basic sanitation. The global prevalence of diarrheal diseases is nearly 1.5 million children. This state of it can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or place of residence. Nevertheless, the elderly and children, and infants are categories of people to be considered with more attention. Indeed, the elderly sometimes find it more challenging to hydrate regularly, especially in periods of high heat. As for children, in the period of growth, the consequences of dehydration are more severe than in adults. In this sense, promoting hydration in these categories of people is essential.
When dehydration immediately can be dangerous. Certainly the loss of water and mineral salts can have significant consequences in the body’s functioning (vital organs, muscles, brain, etc.), and all the more so in growing children or even in the elderly, whose body is weak. It is essential to continue consistent hydration, that is to say, nearly 1.5 L of water per day.
What are the Risk Factors for Dehydration?
The extreme ages of life are the most vulnerable: Infants are particularly affected because they are 70% water and have very few reserves. In addition, as their immune system is immature, they are prone to childhood illnesses, most of which, even diarrhea and vomiting: all situations that promote water loss.
Not only do seniors not feel thirsty, but they also have certain common medical conditions, such as diabetes and taking diuretics (usually for high blood pressure), that can cause or at least worsen dehydration.
Treatments and Prevention of Dehydration
To limit any danger of bacterial or viral communication, it is then strongly advised to adopt cleanliness rules: wash food well, wash your hands after going to the toilet, do not drink water if it is not potable.
In addition, it is advisable to drink 1.5 L and 2 L of water per day. This recommendation varies in particular according to individual physical and sporting practices, the presence of specific underlying pathologies, or even the seasonal period.
The disease is essentially and mainly treated by rehydration. To limit the aggravation of water and mineral salt losses, drinking and eating as normally as possible is then recommended.
In the case of dehydrated infants. Then oral rehydration solutions prescribed in the context of severe diarrhea. When these subside, it is advisable to refeed the child little by little, with infant formula or solid foods.
If the symptoms persist over time, it is essential to contact the doctor quickly. But also if blood is visible, stool dehydration is accompanied by fever and a body temperature above 38.5°C.