Parish Nurse News
Sheila Griffin, RN

DEHYDRATION

Although dehydration can happen to any of us at any time of the year, it becomes even more prevalent in the summer. During the summer heat, it is easy to become dehydrated without realizing it. In the summer, when you lose more water through sweat and urine than you've taken in, it becomes a dangerous situation, especially for older adults.

Some other factors that might contribute to dehydration are infections (especially those that cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and excess sweating), medication (diuretics, laxatives), health conditions (obesity, dementia, Parkinson's or stroke).

A lack of sufficient fluid in the body can temporarily cause confusion and put you at risk for falls. When severe, dehydration can lead to a rapid or irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, fainting, even death. . In other words, the amount of water in your body can affect every body system.

Some signs of dehydration are hard to detect because they can be caused by other factors. Classic signs of dehydration include dry mouth, thirst, fatigue, and skin that doesn't spring back quickly when pinched. Research has shown that there is no single reliable test for dehydration.

The color of your urine might be a clue. Healthy urine is the color of pale straw. The darker the urine, the less hydrated you might be. If you think you might be dehydrated, try drinking two to three glasses of water over the course of an hour or so.

So what do we do to stay hydrated?
The right amount of fluids to take in varies with each individual. Generally, the heavier, taller, and more active folks should take in more fluids. Your general health is also a factor. If you have a history of heart failure or kidney disease, for instance, you may need to curtail some fluid intake. In case of questions, it is a good idea to contact your primary physician.

Drink before your feel parched. By the time you feel thirsty, you might already by mildly dehydrated.

Sip small amounts throughout the day. If you have difficulty drinking a full glass at a time, drink smaller amounts more frequently. Carrying a water bottle with you can remind you to take a drink.

Include other beverages. Coffee and tea are mild diuretics but will add more to your liquid reserves that you lose.

Soups, fruits and vegetables are also good sources of liquid.

Quote of the Month:

"Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence". Henry David Thoreau

Happy Father's Day and Happy Graduation!!

Take care and God Bless, and Have a wonderful summer.

Sheila

HEALTH INFORMATION RESOURCES

The following sources are intended as a partial list of many areas in the health field where information can be obtained. There are so many sources of information that to list them here would be impossible. If there is an area you are interested in that is not listed here, please contact me and I will be more than happy to assist in getting that source for you.

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