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Dehydration, in simple words, is shortage of water in the body. Every cell in the body needs water in order to function properly. In fact, an adult's body weight is 60% water, while an infant's is up to 80% water. Other than oxygen, there is nothing that the body needs more than water.
Water - the irreplaceable
Water is so important because it has many critical functions in the body. Among other activities, water:
* lubricates the joints and connective tissues
* helps digest the food
* liquifies the mucus when you have got a cold
* eliminates bodily heat through sweat
* carries oxygen, carbohydrates and fats to working muscles
* flushes waste from the body through urine
* boosts endurance during prolonged exercise
* wards off bladder infections by washing out harmful bacteria
* helps curb your appetite
* plumps up wrinkles
* quenches thirst
Types of dehydration;
Mild, moderate and severe are the three types of dehydration. In mild dehydration, body loses 5% of its fluid. Once the loss of body fluid reaches 10%, it is moderate dehydration where medical attention is required. Once the loss of body fluid reaches 15%, it is severe dehydration where the affected person should be hospitalized immediately for intravenous replacement of fluids. In summer one could have lot of sweating which is very normal as the body balances its temperature. The only precaution that could prevent any type of dehydration is to replace lost fluid by drinking plenty of water regularly. Make it a point to take a minimum of 3 litres of water daily.
Dehydration can happen due to:
* insufficient liquid/water intake
* excessive loss of fluids due to diarrhea, vomiting and sunstroke
Signs and symptoms:
* furious thirst
* dizziness or nausea
* extreme exhaustion
* loss of elasticity of skin and wrinkling
* reduced urination
* easily irritable
* dry tongue
Treatment - home remedies
In mild cases of dehydration, the treatment is following the simple thumb rule of replacing the lost fluid. Non-alcoholic drinks may be given in plenty. Coconut water is the best. The oral dehydration solutions and sachets are available, which are easy to use. The following are some of the home remedies:
* drink plenty of water by adding sugar or salt to it.
* take yogurt, buttermilk, mint, apple, pomegranate, papaya, banana, carrot, potato, etc.
* add a few drops of pudinhara to half a cup of water and drink 3 - 4 times.
* drink a mixture of 1 tsf mint juice, 1/2 tsf ginger juie and 1 tsf honey.
* drink 1/2 tsf of dry ginger powder in 1 cup of buttermilk, 3 - 4 times a day.
* chew a few pieces of inner lining of pomegranate with salt and/or drink pomegranate juice.
* prepare a mixture by adding 1/2 tsf lemon juice, 1/2 tsf ginger juice and 1/4 tsf pepper powder and drink it.
* roast 1/2 tsf cumin (jeera) seeds and 1/2 tsf fenugreek seeds; mix and powder it, add to 4 tsf of yogurt, take it thrice a day.
* grate one raw papaya. Add 3 cups of water, boil for 10 mins, strain and finish the water in one day.
* stew apple with 2 pinches of nutmeg powder and 1 tsf sugar and eat it.
* eat plenty of fresh fruits.
* eat one green banana every two to four hours until symptoms subside.
* food rich in potassium are important to restore the body's essential stores depleted during diarrhea. Such foods include lentils, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, coconut milk and citrus fruits.
* avoid alcohol and caffeine, apticots, peas, pears, peaches, plums, prunes, etc. During dehydration.