As we head into summer, it is important to remember that the joy of seeing the hot sun can also bring health problems. One common problem is dehydration. Dehydration is more common in the elderly. The elderly have lower water content and decreased capacity to respond to stressors such as fasting, exposure to extreme heat, exercise, and disease.
Causes of dehydration can include: increased heat, decreased fluid intake (sometimes from the desire not to have to use the toilet), fever, hot weather, increased urinary infection, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Early symptoms of dehydration should not be ignored. They include: thirst; dry,warm skin; increased confusion; dizziness or lightheadedness; hard bowel movements; weakness; and dry mouth or mucous membranes. Increasing the amount of fluid intake can easily rectify dehydration if caught early. Dehydration can be prevented by drinking 8 glasses of water a day unless otherwise directed by your doctor. So remember, as the summer approaches:
Drink! Drink! Drink!
written by: Carolyn Uzarowski, RN; Health Director, Woods Adult Day Services