Summer Fun #5: Dehydration
When we don’t drink enough fluids to replace what we have lost… well, just imagine that shriveled up, thirsty plant on your windowsill… Similar things happen to us 2 and 4 legged creatures, too.
Too much sun, not enough shade. A game of beach volleyball, golf or tennis. A mountain hike on a beautiful summer's day. Hot days, in general. Sitting on the beach and your cooler is now empty (on that note, drinking alcohol in the sun). All of these activities can leave you parched.
Don't think you're protected from dehydration because you are keeping yourself cool in the pool. I guess I never really thought about it, but sweating while swimming is a thing. Maughan (et al. 2009) and (Cox et al. 2002) show we do. Sengun (et al. 2012) found dehydration in professional underwater divers. The dehydration experienced in water athletes is less than those doing their thing on land, but it’s still there.
Heat, exertion, fever, breastfeeding, high altitude, diarrhea and vomiting can all lead to dehydration, regardless of the time of year.
There are plenty of recommendations out there for how much and how often to drink water and plenty of counter-recommendations, too. I leave that to you to figure out what is your necessary hydration requirements as there appears to be no “universal consensus” (Armstrong and Johnson 2018). Though far less common, just remember that over-hydration is also a thing (Hew-Butler et al. 2019).
How to know if you’re getting enough liquid?
Mayo Clinic (2020) says you should rarely feel thirsty and your urine should be light in color.
For infants: sunken eyes or the soft spot on their heads is sunken; no tears when crying; dry mouth and not producing much urine (Raab 2021) can indicate they are dehydrated or on their way to being.
Older children may complain of dizziness or headache, extreme thirst or they may be lethargic (The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne 2018). For more information on Pediatric Fluid Management, click here.
I was under the impression that the skin pinch test was a way to determine hydration status, but according to (Goehring et al. 2022), it's not reliable. I'm not convinced, however. It's apparently a decent indicator in dogs (Goucher et al. 2019). I say it's one more easy step to take to keep an eye on things.
For pets, rapid and heavy panting and dry gums are two signs (First Aid for Pets 2018).
Dehydration can be a life threatening condition, especially in children. Do not hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.
What to do about this?
Prevention is key. For mild to moderate dehydration, drink up!
Water, coconut water or even commercially available rehydration supplements — though, I would caution against the chemical concoctions (you know the brightly colored drinks); they come with their own set of yuckiness.
Get Well Soon: A Guide to Homeopathic First Aid (Norland 2016) suggests using a mixture of 1/4 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp honey or sugar in a pint of water and taking a tablespoon every 15 minutes if you are worried about dehydration during sickness.
Similarly, the Drs Banerji recommend: “salty water (1/2 teaspoonful of common salt in half a glass of cold water) to be given frequently — one tablespoonful at a time — and repeated whenever the patient feels very thirsty” (Banerji and Banerji 2013).
Might homeopathy help ward off dehydration?
The Banerjis also recommend Natrum muriaticum 6x and Kali phos 6x (2 tabs each together), taken every 3 hours to combat dehydration.
Now what? I drank some water but I still feel crummy.
For the after-effects of mild to moderate dehydration, consider these remedies:
Whichever remedy you choose, take every 15 minutes until feeling some improvement and then extend the time between doses. If, after a few doses there is zero change, choose another remedy.
For more information on ailments from the sun, see: Summer Fun #1: Sun.
Here's to staying cool, wearing a big hat, seeking the shade and sipping some lemonade (maybe even with a couple of cell salts added to it!) Or, if you want something a little more substantial, here are links to other homemade homeopathic anti-dehydration recipes: here and here.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
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Julia Coyte, CHom
I am passionate about homeopathy and I love sharing this passion. Having a working knowledge of homeopathy shouldn't be kept a secret. If people have the ability to help themselves, their children and their friends when they have minor ailments, life just gets better for everyone. That is the purpose behind Ruminating on Remedies.