It is vital to maintain optimal hydration for proper body functioning especially during exercise during warm weather. Once an individual is dehydrated, it is essential to restore the water balance of the body as soon as possible. Drinking a lot of water is not enough. Always bear in mind that the water in the body also contains electrolytes which are vital minerals that will allow the body to perform vital chemical reactions.
Rehydrating after being dehydrated will help restore these electrolytes since they tend to be lost once water is lost. If not done, it can lead to a state called hyponatremia which causes fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, stomach upset and even death in severe cases. If you will enroll in a first aid class, you can learn how to handle the early signs of dehydration.
Steps to hydrate the body
- Provide the individual with water since it is a good step to start. The individual should drink steadily to prevent stomach upset. Drinking large amounts of water rapidly will only cause the body to eliminate large amounts as urine which will cut down the rehydration course.
- Consume foods that are high in electrolytes and water. Potassium and sodium are vital electrolytes required for hydration. Fruits and vegetables have high water content. In a study conducted, rehydration with water and a meal was more effective in rehydrating the body than with sports drink alone.
- When eating food is not an option, you can provide the individual with a fluid replacement beverage or a sports drink. Take note that these beverages contain electrolytes that helps the body retain water and restore the fluid balance quickly. If available, coconut water can be given to avoid the sugar usually present in many sports drinks.
- The individual should be encouraged to drink more than the fluid that was lost. Always bear in mind that the amount lost through urine is reduced if the individual will consume fluid or food that contains electrolytes.
- The individual should avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine. Take note that both can add to increased production of urine, thus making it more hard for the body to preserve fluids during rehydration.
Important considerations to bear in mind
Those who are severely dehydrated should seek immediate medical care. In case of severe dehydration, it is considered life-threatening and the ideal way to rehydrate is under the supervision of a healthcare professional. If the individual develops hyponatremia or still feels unwell after attempting to rehydrate, it is best to seek medical care.
Always remember that dehydration can be prevented in the first place. As long as the individual drinks 17-20 ounces of fluids two hours prior to exercise, during exercise and after the routine, it can prevent dehydration. Always make it a point to drink fluids especially when under the heat of the sun.