- Bloody or black feces
- Disorientation, evident weakness or feeling sleepier than usual
- Unable to tolerate fluids orally
- Experiencing diarrhea for more than a day
These may be warning signs of severe dehydration and may require immediate dehydration treatment.
Dehydration: First Aid
Mild dehydration can easily be treated at home by replenishing all the lost fluids and electrolytes. First aid for dehydration entails using an oral rehydration solution to alleviate symptoms caused by dehydration in children. It is recommended that this solution is first given in small amounts to gauge whether or not the child can tolerate it. It is also advised that the solution be diluted with water.
Teens and adults
For older children and adults, drinking water with oral rehydration salts can help with mild dehydration. It is important that only clear liquids like water or clear broth be given to a person suffering from dehydration because juice or soda may worsen their condition.
If a person is experiencing dehydration from heat exhaustion, make sure to bring them to a cooler environment. First aid for heat exhaustion also involves immediate replenishing of fluids through water or other beverages that do not contain caffeine or alcohol.
If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from heat exhaustion, you should:
- Get them to lie down, and elevate their legs
- Make sure to get rid of any clothing that is restrictive
- Wipe them down with a sponge or towel soaked in cool water
The prevention of dehydration is much easier than treating it. Here are a few easy ways to stay hydrated:
- Drink as much water as you can. If you are going to work or exercise outdoors, make sure to drink plenty of fluids before the activity and stay hydrated as you exercise or work.
- If the weather is hotter than usual, try to avoid staying outdoors for too long.
- Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks, and opt for water instead.
- Check the color of your urine from time to time. If your urine appears to be a darker shade, it means you need more water.
Dehydration can have severe consequences on a person’s health. This is why it is important to remember to stay hydrated if you are located in hot climates, or if you have existing medical conditions that make you more at risk of getting dehydrated. Learn and apply basic first aid for dehydration if the symptoms are mild.
If you or someone you know is feeling faint, or experiencing seizures along with the symptoms of dehydration, call emergency services or see a doctor immediately.
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