Although we are at the end of the Indian summer, there seems to be no solace from the soaring temperatures and the accompanied profuse sweating. It’s that season when stepping out of office or homes is really a pain as much as it is tiring. It’s the time of the year when dehydration and diarrhoea seem to be affecting everybody. However, do you know that dehydration can actually be avoided? Do you make sure you consume more than the regular amount of liquids to keep your body hydrated? If not, it’s time you thought about it.

During extreme heat conditions, there occurs excessive sweating leading to loss of water from the body. If this water loss is not compensated, dehydration, a potentially life-threatening condition, can occur. While mild dehydration can be easily treated and prevented, severe dehydration can be much more complicated and dangerous.


Why Your Body Should Be Well-hydrated

Water is most important for our body as it has various roles to play. Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart to pump blood through blood vessels more easily. Water helps lubricate joints and cushions organs and tissues. It carries waste products out of the body in the form of urine. In a hydrated body, the muscles work more efficiently.


How Does the Body Get Dehydrated

Our body consists of approximately two thirds of water and we lose some of it throughout the day in sweat, tears, and urine. It gets compensated by the intake of fluids and different kinds of foods. However, when the amount of water drops too low for normal body functions including digestion, blood flow, maintaining temperature etc., it can lead to dehydration. When the fluid lost is not replaced, it results in dehydration. This could be when you aren’t drinking enough water. It also happens due to fever (more water evaporates when body temperature goes up), vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat or continuously engaged in long periods of exercise with excessive sweating.


How Would You Know Your Body is Dehydrated

Dehydration occurs when there is a high loss of salt and water in the body. Some of the common signs of dehydration are –

  • Extreme thirst
  • Very dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Sluggishness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Confusion
  • Fainting

Dehydration can occur in anyone of any age, but it is most dangerous for babies, small children, and older adults.


What is ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution)

A solution of glucose-based salt solution is used in oral rehydration therapy. It is the most effective and least expensive way of managing diarrhoeal dehydration. The drink is used to replace lost salt content and improve absorption of water by the body. If you see any of the early signs of dehydration, you should take ORS as it helps re-hydrate the body. It is easier and much better to prevent dehydration beforehand by drinking ORS than to try to cure it later.


How to Prepare ORS at Home

Add half-teaspoon of table salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar to one liter of clean water. Stir the mixture and the ORS is ready. It is very helpful in restoring back the electrolyte balance of the human body.


Oral Rehydration Solution for Children

Every year approximately 1.7 million children die as a result of diarrhoea and dehydration. In majority of the cases this is preventable. In fact, on the contrary, millions of children’s lives have also been saved by giving ORS.

When a child has three or more loose stools in a day, you should begin to give ORS. For children below two years, you must give between a quarter and a half of a large cup of the solution. Older children can be fed between a half and a full large cup. Keep feeding sips of the solution with a teaspoon preferably after every loose motion. In case the child vomits after consuming it, wait for 10 minutes before feeding another teaspoon. The body will retain some of the fluids and salts needed even though there is vomiting. In addition zinc supplements must be given to children suffering from diarrhoea. You can store the ORS in a cool place for 24 hours after which you must make a fresh solution.


So share the importance of keeping the body well-hydrated and the goodness of oral rehydration solutions to fight the problems caused by dehydration.