Wet Your Winter Whistle

You may have thought dehydration was a problem only in the hot and hyperactive days of summer. Guess again!

Dehydration happens whenever your body loses more fluid that it takes in. When that happens, your body doesn’t have the necessary fluids to do its normal job.

Common causes of dehydration include intense vomiting or diarrhea, fever, or excessive sweating. It can happen to anyone, but those most at risk are children and the elderly and those with chronic diseases.

Mild to moderate dehydration can cause thirst, of course, but also drowsiness, few tears when crying, light-headedness, dark-colored urine, decreased urine output, dry skin, dry sticky mouth, headache, and constipation.

First aid for mild to moderate dehydration includes sipping small amounts of water or sports drinks (electrolyte-containing beverages), through a straw if necessary, and sucking on ice chips or on popsicles made of real fruit juice.

Cool the patient by loosening or removing clothing. Cool the environment by means of fans or air conditioning or, if outdoors, getting the patient into the shade. Use spray bottles with lukewarm (not cold) water.

If dehydration appears to be severe, go immediately to an emergency room or call 911

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