Nigerians from all walks of life have been advised to drink plenty of fluids and eat lots of foods that contain liquid like vegetables to avoid being dehydrated, especially as the dry season occasioned by the onset of harmattan is around the corner.
In describing dehydration, Dr. Ojenuwah Sunday, the main speaker at an enlightenment programme organised to enlighten members of the public on the dangers of dehydration during the dry season explained that it was as a situation where the body looses more fluid than is ingested or the body does not have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions, saying, failure to replace these fluids results in dehydration.
Dr. Ojenuwah who spoke on “Dehydration: Steps To Prevention” revealed that anybody no matter how healthy physically, might become dehydrated but the condition was especially dangerous for young children and older adults.
He stressed that the common cause of dehydration in young children is severe diarrhoea and vomiting, adding that older adults naturally have a lower volume of water in their bodies and may also have conditions or take medications that increase the risk of dehydration.
“Causes of dehydration may include any of the following, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, excessive sweating, and increased intimation. This means that even minor illnesses such as infections affecting the lungs or bladders can result in dehydration in older adults.
“Dehydration can also occur in any age group, if you do not drink enough water during hot weather especially if you are exercising vigorously or exposed to heat.
“You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment”, he added.
In his submission, signs and symptoms of dehydration may differ by age, saying, for infants and young children, it includes: dry mouth and tongue, dry crying, no wet diapers for upward to three hours, sunken eyes and cheeks, sunken soft spot on top of skull and irritability.
Adult signs and symptoms include: extreme thirst, less frequent urination, dark coloured urine, fatigue, dizziness and confusion.
The medical resource person maintained that often than not, dehydration occurs for simple reasons which may be as a result of lack of drinking enough water due to sickness, busy schedule or lack of access to safe drinking water during long distance travels.
Ojenuwah noted everybody is prone to dehydration but certain people are at greater risks.
“Infants and children, older adults, people with chronic diseases, people who work or exercise outside are amongst the category that fall within groups that are prone to dehydration”.
He was quick to point out that failure to treat the condition promptly could lead to serious complications including, heart injury, urinary and kidney problems, seizures, low blood volume shock otherwise known as hypovolemic shock.
In proffering ways to prevent dehydration, drinking plenty of fluids and eating of foods high in water such as fruits and vegetables were suggested as compulsory.
“People may need to take in more fluids, if they are experiencing conditions such as vomiting and diarrhoea, strenuous exercise, hot or cold weather and illness.