Mild to moderate Dehydration
The best way to treat mild to moderate dehydration is to rehydrate the body by drinking plenty of fluids. Drink water, diluted squash, diluted fruit juice or sports drinks that contain electrolytes. Oral rehydration solutions replace both water and salt losses in the body.
If you’re finding it difficult to keep water down because you’re vomiting, try drinking small amounts more frequently or sucking on ice cubes. Drinks containing alcohol and caffeine should be avoided, as they can cause more dehydration.
If left untreated, severe dehydration can be serious and cause kidney damage, seizures, brain damage and death. It requires hospital treatment and an intravenous drip to restore the substantial loss of fluids. If you think you or someone with you is severely dehydrated, get them to hospital.
Children and the Elderly
Consult a doctor if a young child or elderly person is dehydrated. Infants and children who are dehydrated shouldn’t be given water as the main replacement fluid because it can further dilute the minerals in their body and make the problem worse. In most cases of mild dehydration they should be given diluted squash, diluted fruit juice or an oral rehydration solution.
Go to the emergency room of your local hospital if there are signs of severe dehydration or if you have any concerns about your baby, child or elderly relative.
Dehydration can be prevented. Advice and recommendations for fluid intake vary. In general, an adult should drink around eight glasses (2 litres) of water a day. This amount varies according to the body weight, environment, activity and overall health of the individual.
Make sure you drink enough water every day to replace any fluid lost during hot weather, illness or exercise. Your fluid intake is probably adequate if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colourless or light yellow.