Health leaders at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) are reminding people to keep hydrated, especially if they are self-isolating due to symptoms of the coronavirus.
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in and if it's not treated, it can get worse and become a serious problem. Keeping well hydrated is one of the best ways to help the body to fight infection and stay well.
It’s especially important that vulnerable people including the elderly, babies and children drink enough as well as those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes. As temperatures rise it’s also important to make sure the body has enough fluids.
Dr Shaba Nabi, GP and Clinical Lead at BNSSG CCG said: “Dehydration can occur with any infection but we are also seeing recent cases of patients being admitted into hospital with the coronavirus in which dehydration is a factor. Anyone can become dehydrated but elderly people are most at risk, especially if they live alone and no one is there to remind them to drink regularly.
“It’s really important that anyone who cares for a vulnerable person encourages them to drink enough fluids. Aim to take in about 1.5 litres of fluid a days - this can include water, diluted squash or fruit juice. These are much more effective than large amounts of tea or coffee. Fizzy drinks may contain more sugar than you need and may be harder to take in large amounts and alcohol should be avoided.”
Dehydration is caused by not drinking enough and also when fluid is lost due to vomiting, sweating and diarrhoea. Exposure to the sun in hot weather as well as a high temperature from a fever or infection can also cause dehydration.
The early signs of dehydration are thirst and dark-coloured urine followed by dizziness, headaches, tiredness and dry mouth and lips.
Dr Nabi said: “Mild dehydration can be reversed by drinking more fluids but if it is ongoing it can affect kidney function. Talk to your GP if your symptoms continue despite drinking fluids, or if you suspect that your baby or toddler is dehydrated.”
You should contact your GP if your baby has had six or more episodes of diarrhoea in the past 24 hours, or if they have vomited three times or more in the past 24 hours.
Contact your GP or NHS 111 straight away if you have any of the following symptoms:
- feeling unusually tired or confused, and you think you may be dehydrated
- dizziness when you stand up that doesn't go away after a few seconds
- not passing urine for eight hours
- a weak or rapid pulse
- fits (seizures)
- a low level of consciousness
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