What are the symptoms of dehydration? Signs to spot

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Brits warned to beware of ‘serious’ health effects of hot weather (Composite: Kim Mogg/Mazic News)

dr Radhika Khosla, from the University of Oxford, said: “The health impacts of rising temperatures in the UK are serious.

“Major physiological changes occur in response to high temperature, including changes in our circulatory, nervous, and respiratory systems.

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“If these adaptive measures are not sufficient, the risk of cardiopulmonary and cardiovascular problems increases in older adults, young children, people with chronic illnesses, athletes and outdoor workers.

“Excessive heat disrupts sleep, impairs cognitive function, and is associated with an increased risk of suicide or hospitalization for mental illness.”

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The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a Level 2 heat alert for much of southern and central England, while Northern England is on a Level 1 alert.

Experts are urging people to exercise caution in hot weather and to be aware of the direct health effects of extreme heat, including heatstroke and dehydration.

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What are the symptoms of dehydration?

Dehydration is a common symptom of extreme heat and occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in.

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When your body’s normal water content is reduced, it upsets the balance of salts and sugars in your body and affects how it functions. If left untreated, symptoms can worsen and become a more serious problem.

Early warning signs of dehydration include:

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  • feeling thirsty
  • Dark yellow and strong smelling urine
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • feeling tired
  • Dry mouth, lips and eyes
  • Urinate little and less than four times a day

Dehydration is the most common cause of dehydration, but it can occur more easily if you suffer from heat stroke, have a high temperature of 38°C or more, have diabetes, or if you vomit or have diarrhea.

How can I treat dehydration?

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When you’re severely dehydrated, your body needs to be replenished with the sugars, salts, and minerals it’s lost.

Oral rehydration bags are a good option, a pharmacist may recommend this, or you can drink plenty of water. Try to avoid large amounts of tea or coffee as they are high in caffeine.

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If you feel too hot, move to a cool place, lie down with your feet slightly elevated, and apply cold water to your skin to lower your body temperature.

You should call 999 or go to A&E if:

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  • You feel unusually tired
  • you are confused and disoriented
  • any dizziness when standing up does not go away
  • You have not urinated for eight hours
  • Your pulse is weak or fast
  • They have seizures (seizures)

These symptoms can be signs of severe dehydration and require urgent treatment.

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