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Are you drinking enough fluid to stay hydrated?

Are you drinking enough fluid to stay hydrated?

Wye Valley NHS Trust together with Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Herefordshire Council is promoting a campaign to help raise awareness amongst our patients and staff of the importance of drinking water to stay hydrated.

Dehydration can cause headaches, lethargy, dizziness, confusion, and in some cases can lead people being admitted to hospital.

Drinking fluid and keeping hydrated can help medicines work more effectively, and with the older population, can reduce the number of falls and related illnesses and accidents.

To stay hydrated and where clinically appropriate, adults should aim to drink approximately eight (200ml) glasses of water a day and drink more fluids during warmer weather or when exercising.  Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and limit coffee and alcohol intake as they can dehydrate you.  In the hospital setting patients are helped in reaching their water glass and jugs are refreshed with cold water regularly.

The fluid intake for infants and children varies according to their age and other factors, so we advise that parents and carers ensure infants and children are offered regular fluids throughout the day.

Dehydration symptoms can include: feeling thirsty, confusion, dizziness when you stand up that doesn't go away, not peeing for eight hours, a weak or rapid pulse, and fits (seizures).  For children under five years old this can include: seeming drowsy, breathing fast, few or no tears when they cry, a soft spot on their head that sinks inwards (sunken fontanelle), a dry mouth, dark-yellow pee or cold and blotchy-looking hands and feet.

If you suspect that someone is dehydrated ensure they are drinking enough fluids and if they are being sick or have diarrhoea and are losing too much fluid, contact your GP.  If you suspect they are severely dehydrated go to the Emergency Department or if they need an ambulance call 999.

Everyone is at risk of poor hydration, but particularly vulnerable people including:

  • Children and babies, elderley and people with long term conditions.
  • Anyone admitted to hospital, either for a routine operation or as an emergency.
  • People recovering from major operations - dehydration can slow or reverse recovery.
  • Elderly disabled, arthritic or Alzheimer sufferers - they may have difficulties with drinking.
  • People in nursing homes - they are often dependent on carers.

The campaigns includes information for our staff in our weekly newsletter such as top tips for keeping patients hydrated and posters displayed at our site for patients, visitors and staff.

 

© Wye valley NHS Trust 2018