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Dehydration Boost


The importance of staying hydrated at all times cannot be overstated. Most people don’t think to drink water until they feel thirsty, but you’re already dehydrated by that time. Simply drinking water or Gatorade isn’t enough to recover from dehydration on a hot, summer day. To get back on your feet as quickly as possible, you’ll need something that packs a more potent punch.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

Dehydration is caused by several factors, including excessive sweating, not drinking enough fluids, and illnesses like gastroenteritis that cause diarrhea and vomiting — which in turn lead to rapid fluid and electrolyte loss. Certain medical conditions such as kidney or renal disease and medications like diuretics can also increase the risk of dehydration.

Everyone is at risk of dehydration, though older adults tend to experience higher rates of severe cases that require hospitalization. While mild cases of dehydration can cause headaches, lightheadedness and fatigue, and low blood pressure, other signs develop when the condition becomes more severe.

Here are some severe signs of dehydration that may require medical attention:

  • Reduced skin Elasticity
  • Dark Urine, Dry Mouth, Headache
  • Sunken eyes
  • Rapid breathing or rapid heart rate
  • Fainting

Once you understand the signs of dehydration, you can choose a plan of action. Quick, fast relief is essential to avoid severe cases of dehydration.

How IV Therapy Hydration Works

Moderate to severe dehydration is often treated at the hospital or doctor’s office using intravenous therapy. The IV mixture is usually a saline solution that may also contain glucose or dextrose and electrolytes such as potassium.

The solution includes sodium because it’s a vital electrolyte that helps to restore hydration fast. In addition, sugars work to decrease osmolality — the pressure required for electrolytes to enter cell membranes — enabling your body to absorb electrolytes like sodium more quickly. The exact mixture of your IV will depend on whether you have any electrolyte deficiencies such as low sodium levels that can cause dehydration and the severity of your condition.

IV fluids are made using crystalloid solutions, which enable water to move in or out of your cells thanks to a process called osmosis. In cases of malnutrition, colloids — large molecules that draw fluids into intracellular spaces — are used instead of crystalloids since they require lower volumes of water.

There are three types of crystalloids:

  1. Hypotonic: The most common type of hypotonic IV fluid is called half-normal saline — which contains 0.45% sodium chloride and 5% glucose . This type is often used to treat dehydration from hypernatremia, metabolic acidosis, and diabetic ketoacidosis. Hypotonic IV fluids contain fewer solutes (substances that dissolve in another substance) compared to blood plasma. That means these solutions cause fluid to shift from extracellular fluid — located outside your cells — to intracellular fluid (fluid found inside cell membranes).
  2. Hypertonic: These IV fluids contain large amounts of solutes (375 meq/L and greater), causing fluids to move out of cells and into intravascular spaces such as your bloodstream. They are usually made of 3% or 5% sodium chloride and are used to treat hyponatremia — a condition where your body doesn’t have enough sodium.
  3. Isotonic: This is the most common type of IV fluid. Isotonic IV fluids include normal saline, 5% dextrose solutions dissolved in water, and Lactated Ringer’s solutions. These are used for dehydration caused by electrolyte imbalances as well as fluid loss from diarrhea and vomiting. The fluids contain an electrolyte content of around 310 meq/L and the same solutes as blood concentration. This means that this type of IV fluid will bulk up both the fluid inside and outside of your cells equally.

For IV therapy, a medical professional injects IV fluid into you or your child’s veins using a small needle. The needle is attached to a tube which leads to a bag containing the normal saline solution or another hydrating fluid. The tubing also has an adjustable valve that allows the doctor or nurse to control the amount of fluid you receive.