Waterbottle on table

QUICK GUIDE TO DEHYDRATION

Dehydration is a very serious matter. It can creep up on someone without them knowing. Understanding the signs and knowing how to react is extremely important because as with most conditions, once the condition progresses to a serious matter, professional help is required. Learn a little more about dehydration and how to treat a mild case before it gets too serious.

Being dehydrated is more than just feeling thirsty. It is a dangerous condition that everyone out fishing and camping should understand and avoid. Dehydration is more common in children because they have a faster metabolism. Older adults are more prone to suffering from dehydration. Make no mistake about it, dehydration can and will lead to death.

This guide is provided for information purposes only. You should seek the help of a professional if you want to know more about severe dehydration.

DEALING WITH DEHYDRATION

Mild dehydration can usually be treated wherever you are. Common signs of mild dehydration include dark yellow urine, thirst, a dry mouth and feelings of being overheated, which is normally characterised by a headache and fatigue.

The signs of severe dehydration are very serious and appear when a mildly dehydrated person has not been treated. They will not be able to urinate (or their urine will be a dark colour), they will have stopped sweating, they will be dizzy and disorientated, have low blood pressure and a fast a heart rate. They may even appear to have a fever. Eventually, the person will have seizures and go into shock.

It is important to treat someone with mild dehydration immediately. A good test for mild dehydration is to squeeze the fingernail when the hand is held over the heart. If it takes more than 2 seconds for the nail to return to a pink colour, the person is suffering from mild dehydration. Another test is to pinch the skin on the back of the hand and time how long it takes to bounce back to normality. If it takes more than a few seconds, you know someone is dehydrated.

Commonly available electrolyte solutions are the best way to combat dehydration. Small sips every few minutes are the best because a sudden amount of fluid can cause vomiting. If you don’t have an electrolyte solution, the only other way is to replace lost fluids with water.

While most adults can improve their condition by drinking water, soft drinks and fruit juice should be avoided because they can cause an increase in diarrhoea. Sports drinks can also be helpful.

Because someone with severe dehydration requires the help of emergency or rescue professionals, it is important you look out for the first signs of dehydration and rehydrated immediately. When severe dehydration sets in, simply drinking fluids are not normally enough and an IV will need administering.

In normal conditions, an adult needs around 2 litres of water per day. If you are outside in the heat camping and fishing, you are going to need more. You will need to replace the fluids you lose during your day of activity. If you are out hiking, carrying around all that water can be heavy. A hydration pack is a great way to carry water when you are hiking and they are more commonly being used by fishos because of the convenience.

GENERAL APPROACH TO GOOD HYDRATION

It is a good idea to make sure you are fully hydrated in the morning before taking on your day’s activities. You will need more than just coffee in the morning to get you started. Make sure you drink a lot in the morning while having breakfast. Taking sips of fluids while you are eating is a great way to help you body absorb nutrients and slow down the eating process to avoid that lazy feeling after a big heavy breakfast.

I was big on the big breakfast for many years. While it does give you energy after that initial slump, it is quite amazing how some wholegrain toast and fresh fruit will give a long supply of energy and make you feel satisfied at the same time. Even though we all know what is healthy and good for us, we don’t always do what’s right. That’s something to stop and think about, especially when planning a camping and fishing trip.

 


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Madeleine Park
madel@dinga.com.au

Madeleine is a real green thumb and spends most of her time outdoors in her garden if she is not outdoors somewhere else.