First aid for dehydration
Dehydration is mainly caused by
- Excessive sweating during physical activity
- Prolonged exposure to the sun or hot conditions
- Sweating because of a fever (high body temperature)
- Severe diarrhoea and vomiting
Certain groups of people are more at risk of dehydration. Young children, the elderly, and people involved in prolonged periods of activity are particularly at risk.
If untreated, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and potentially heat stroke.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration
A victim suffering from dehydration may present with:
- Dry mouth, eyes and other mucous membranes
- Dry, cracked lips
- Headaches, dizziness and confusion
- Cramp and tightness in muscles, especially in the legs
- A Reduction in the amount and frequency of urination, with dark coloured urine
First aid treatment for dehydration
There are some simple first aid steps you can take if you suspect someone is suffering from dehydration.
- Assist the casualty into a cool, shaded place
- Encourage them to sit down and stop any physical activity
- Provide plenty of water or Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) to drink
- If the patient is suffering from cramp, stretch and massage the affected muscles
- Monitor and record vital signs (eg: pulse / respiratory rate) if trained