Dealing with dehydration in the sun.

I am loving the weather at the moment. England is so beautiful when its sunny and I find that people are a lot more agreeable. However despite how amazing it can be in the sun it is very easy to become dehydrated without realising and before you know it you are feeling bloody awful.

A dehydration emergency on the tube.

Yesterday whilst on the tube there was a call on the train for medical assistance. As a nurse these calls make your heart sink into your stomach. Is it going to be something serious where you have no equipment and so are limited in how you can help or is it something more minor where you can help or offer advice until the emergency services arrive.

So yesterday I went to the carriage where help was being asked for and there was a gentleman lying on the floor. He was grey, sweaty and looked awful. I did an initial DRABC (danger, response, airway, breathing, circulation) assessment, sat the man up and managed to escort him off the train. On speaking to this gentleman it turned out that he had been out drinking with work colleagues the night before and as we all do had rushed out in the morning onto the tube to go to work wearing a suit (in over 30 degree heat) with no water with him and without having had any water at home just one cup of coffee.

Tips to prevent dehydration

When travelling in this weather is is so important to carry a bottle of water or any chilled fluid with you. Even more importantly if you are going to be going out having drinks then it is imperative to rehydrate before bed and again when you wake up. It is also really vital in this weather that you then ensure that you have a drink with you. Alcohol can drop your blood pressure through dehydration as can overheating; (hangovers in the heat are way worse than a regular hangover) Combine these two things together and it doesn’t take long for you to feel awful and potentially faint / pass out especially when in overcrowded and hot environments like public transport. If this occurs you are then at risk of sustaining injuries whilst falling / fainting all of which could be prevented by staying hydrated.

Signs and Symptoms of dehydration in both adults and children:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Dark yellow and strong smelling pee
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling tired
  • A dry mouth, lips or eyes
  • Peeing little amounts and less than 4 times a day

Risk factors for dehydration:

  • Diabetes
  • Diarrhoea or Vomiting
  • Being in the sun for too long
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Sweating excessively after exercise
  • Fevers over 38 degrees
  • Taking medications that make you pee lots (Diuretics)

Regular rehydration is the key to ensuring you do not become dehydrated. As soon as you feel any symptoms start rehydrating. If you find it hard to drink large amounts take small sips regularly. Prevention is always better than a cure so if you think there is a risk drink up!!

You should go to A&E or call 999 if:

  • you’re feeling unusually tired
  • you’re confused and disorientated
  • you have any dizziness when you stand up that does not go away
  • you have not peed all day
  • your pulse is weak or rapid
  • you have fits (seizures)

These can be signs of serious dehydration that need urgent treatment.

Take your baby or child to the GP urgently or go to A&E if they:

  • seem drowsy
  • are breathing fast
  • have few or no tears when they cry
  • have a soft spot on their head that sinks inwards (sunken fontanelle)
  • have a dry mouth
  • have dark yellow pee or have not had a pee in last 12 hours
  • have cold and blotchy-looking hands and feet

The NHS UK website recommends that you should never water down formula for babies that are dehydrated!! If there is anything not covered in this guide the NHS has lots of information and is a great resource on dehydration

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