When water losses are not compensated for, one can suffer from dehydration. However, water and mineral salts play an essential role in the proper functioning of the body. This disorder can occur in the event of excessive sweating linked in particular to the heat wave but also after diarrhea, vomiting, following intense sports efforts, a fever in a child or an elderly person, certain chronic diseases, excessive intake. diuretic or laxative drugs, or heavy alcohol consumption.
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
- Puffs of sweat when drinking a glass of water
- No urine for about 5 hours or dark urine
- Cramps (legs, arms, glutes, stomach)
- Intense thirst
- Dry skin and mucous membranes
- Drowsiness, loss of consciousness
What to do in case of dehydration?
Drink immediately, even if you are not thirsty. You need to increase your water intake and maintain a normal diet. Avoid all physical activity for several hours, rest in a cool place, and call a doctor if symptoms worsen or persist for more than an hour.
If you experience intense thirst, but also your skin and mucous membranes are dry, you experience extreme fatigue, dizziness, or even drowsiness or loss of consciousness, call 15: these signs may reflect severe dehydration. Contact a loved one near you who can watch you while waiting for help. In the meantime, cool down, and if you can, drink, spray yourself with water, undress, and draft.
How to avoid dehydration?
Drink regularly, without waiting to be thirsty, and at least a liter and a half a day. Water, mainly, and occasionally squeezed fruit. Avoid sodas and other sugary drinks, and don’t drink alcohol. Also watch out for drinks with a high caffeine content, which are diuretics. Stay cool, give up effort, and postpone urgently needed things to cooler hours. You can also moisten your T-shirt and cap, and frequently wet your uncovered body parts.
Special attention to the elderly
In the elderly, the feeling of thirst is often weak and delayed. This can lead to severe dehydration. If you know elderly, disabled or frail people who are isolated, pay them a visit. In addition, the Ministry of Health strongly advises to encourage them to register on the list of the town hall in order to receive volunteer help during a heat wave.
For more information, consult the recommendations of the Ministry of Health in the event of a heat wave.
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