Water is Life, period!
Water is Life, period!
About 60% of our body is water. All major organs are composed of water. Heart and brain are 73% water; lungs about 83%; kidneys are 79%, even our skin and bones contain water. These statistics revealed by H. H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry goes to prove the importance of water for the human body.
And the lack of it…
Our bodies continuously losses water due to various activities. We lose the water in our bodies in the form of sweat, tears, urine, stool and vapour from the skin. Regular intake of fluids and salts maintains the water level in our bodies.
When the loss of water content in our body is left unchecked and un-replenished, it causes dehydration. This condition can start with a mild dehydration and lead to life-threatening conditions. At the very basic level, your child will suffer from vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, excessive sweating during physical activity and on a hot day.
In its extreme forms dehydration can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. While heat cramps cause painful cramps in stomach, arms and legs, heat exhaustion can lead to unconsciousness. Heat stroke is the worst kind of heat related illness that can cause, among other things, shortness of breath and coma. Considering the dangers of dehydration, it is essential to catch the symptoms early.
On the Look-out
There are some warning signs that you as parents/guardians can always monitor to ensure dehydration is caught at the early stages. These signs include:
• Dry or sticky mouth
• Cracked lips
• Few or no tears when crying
• Sunken looking eyes
• Less urination
• Dry, cool skin
• Low energy levels
• Drowsiness or dizziness
It is a good idea to note down and track your child’s symptoms. This can help in describing the condition to the doctor, explaining the severity of the situation and monitor the progress of dehydration as well.
The treatment for dehydration is very simple, but time-taking. Dehydration can be countered by replenishing the body with water and salts lost. There are many ways to doing this – give juice, lemonade, water and oral rehydration solution (ORS). The problem is that your child may not be receptive to these due to the symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea.
You need to be very careful if your child has diarrhoea. The best drink in this condition is ORS. In case of vomiting you may try fresh juice and lemonade. You need to give these drinks 1-2 tablespoons at a time frequently and raise the amount gradually to a level more acceptable to your child’s body. In case your child’s condition does not improve, contact your doctor. In extreme cases, the child may need to be given IV fluids to bring the water content of the body to an optimum level.
Prevention is better than cure
It is always better to keep our children safe. Preventing them from dehydration is no different. You can take a few conscious steps to ensure that your child is well hydrated:
1. Know the weather and prepare accordingly. If it is going to be too hot, make sure your children are wearing clothes that keep them cool. They wear a cap when going outdoors.
2. Keep them hydrated. Make sure they always have access to water… and drink it frequently. Especially during the hots season and physical activity. You can also opt for drinks that have electrolytes, but intake of these types of drinks should be limited for children.
3. Acclimatise them to the heat. Gradually increase their exposure to heat and high temperatures making sure their bodies get used to the heat.
4. Have an emergency plan in place. Know what you need to do in case the situation goes out of hand.
5. Keep a close eye on your children. Watch out for the symptoms and call the doctor where you need is required.
Children are a gift from God and our most precious treasures. We need to keep them safe, always. Be sure to consult a doctor when you are in doubt. Keep your children hydrated and strong.