Dehydration or in strict medical terms, hypohydration, is a state wherein the body is excessively lacking body fluids, particularly water. The term is derived from Greek, meaning to get rid of water. Medically however, dehydration can refer to the dearth of any essential fluid within the body of an organism.
Dehydration treatments range from simply taking adequate amounts of water for minor cases of dehydration to intravenous applications of essential fluids for more serious cases. This is because there are several types of dehydration: there is what is called hypotonic dehydration, wherein the body is lacking in sodium. There is hypertonic dehydration, whereon the body is lacking water. Finally, there is isotonic dehydration, where the body is lacking both water and sodium.
An important part of dehydration treatment is determining the cause of the patient’s dehydration. One common cause of dehydration is too much physical activity. Extended physical activity can result in too much sweating and without adequate intake of water, dehydration can come about. Dehydration treatment for such cases is simple. First, it is important to prevent any further loss of body fluids by halting the physical activity that brought about the excessive sweating. It is then necessary to recoup the deficiency of the essential body fluids lost by drinking fluids, particularly water.
More severe cases dehydration can be caused by other illnesses such as diarrhea and cholera. In such cases, simply drinking fluids may not be sufficient. For more severe cases, drinking special solutions may be necessary. For dehydration treatment, replenishing body fluids are done with rehydration solutions.
Rehydration solutions are formulations that contain both water and salt that will help in replenishing the body of lost fluids and electrolytes. Pre-formulated rehydration solutions can be bought from pharmacists but it is also possible for one to make their own homemade solutions. In emergency cases when rehydration solutions are needed but are not available in the market, mix ½ teaspoon each of salt and baking soda, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and a liter of clean drinking water.
It is important to remember that rehydration solutions are only meant to be taken when advised by medical personnel since their intake may cause an imbalance in the fluids within the body.
Dehydration treatment through intravenous therapy is used in most serious of cases. Intravenous therapy introduces the treatment solution to the body directly to the veins through the use of a hypodermic needle and a drip bag.
In dire circumstances wherein there is a necessity for immediate intake of water as when stranded in the sea or in desert, it is crucial to know that drinking saltwater or one’s urine does not help at dehydration treatment. Drinking any of those will only make one more dehydrated with their excessive sodium content which may lead to kidney failure.
Dehydration is a serious condition and knowledge of dehydration treatment is important so that one can determine the cause of the dehydration and administer the appropriate emergency aid for those who are in the danger of being dehydrated.