Keep your patients hydrated and healthy 

As summer rolls on, so too are warmer days. Heat-related  illnesses, particularly dehydration, can affect anyone─ no  matter age or medical history.

Dehydration is more prevalent in warm weather, due to the loss of water and salt from the body. Dehydration occurs when a person’s body temperature rises and the body tries to cool itself down by sweating.

water glass

Why do we need to drink water?

Our bodies comprise of 70 to 75 per cent of water, which is responsible for maintaining blood circulation as well as supplying our bodies with essential nutrients and removing waste.

Drinking water also maintains blood volume and ensures our blood pressure is maintained.

How do you know if your patient is dehydrated?

The most common symptoms of dehydration are a dry mouth and feeling thirsty. Other symptoms include:

- dry skin
- passing less urine than normal 
- tiredness
- dizziness
- cramping in the arms and legs

If these symptoms worsen or last for more than an hour, immediate medical attention is highly advised. 

Helpful hints to stay hydrated

Ensure your patient is staying hydrated during the warmer months by following these tips:

- Pay attention to the colour of their urine as this is a good way to monitor fluid loss. Urine should be pale yellow and not dark yellow, too smelly or cloudy

- Fruits and vegetables (at least five cups) should be consumed to count towards their fluid levels, as they contain water and potassium.
- Fluids found in foods (icy poles, custard, jelly, ice cream, yoghurt, fruit and soup) as well as fruit juice, milk, tea, coffee and cordial all contribute to the daily intake.
- Tea and coffee, while being a good source of fluid, should not be the only fluid a person drinks because they contain caffeine

- Fizzy or caffeine-based drinks should be avoided, as they can trigger urge incontinence in some people with bladder dysfunction

- Have your patient sip on water before, during and after exercise for low to moderate activity (less than 60 minutes)

- Exercise or outdoor activities should be done in the early morning or evening to avoid excessive exposure to the midday sun

- Sunscreen and a hat should be worn to protect your patient’s head, neck, ears and face. Avoid getting sunburn as this stops the body from cooling itself down properly

- Thin, loose clothing is suggested to help sweat evaporate. Avoid dark clothes which absorb more heat than light clothing

Note: Your healthcare professional is your first point of contact. Always follow your doctor’s instructions.