Sun, sand, sea and active weekends are key ingredients for a good Kiwi summer – but they are also ingredients for dehydration.
Families are enjoying one of New Zealand’s hottest summers in 50 years, but it’s a timely reminder to ensure children and adults look after their health and stay hydrated – especially as St John staff are reporting an increase incident rate of dehydration and heat stroke nationwide.
Water is not the only thing that’s important
Our bodies are made up of a significant amount of water and when it comes to re-hydrating, we typically only think of drinking more water. However, water isn’t the only thing that’s important for your body to function properly. Replacing lost electrolytes is just as crucial.
What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are not just salts. When dissolved in fluids or gels, electrolytes become ionised creating an electrically charged substance. Although maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet will usually take care of replenishing any electrolytes you have lost during a normal day, certain conditions such as extreme heat, vomiting, excessive alcohol consumption, diarrhoea, heavy sweating or lack of food and fluid intake can lead to inadequate levels of fluid and electrolytes in our bodies which can quickly cause dehydration.
Symptoms of low electrolytes and dehydration
Keeping our body’s level of electrolytes balanced – not too high and not too low – is essential to ensuring it functions properly. Examples of electrolytes include sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium and chloride.
Symptoms of low electrolyte levels and dehydration can include:
– Increased thirst
– Sticky or dry mouth
– Dark yellow/decreased urine output
– Lack of concentration
– Muscle spasms.
Clinical electrolyte/hydration product range Hydralyte has recently arrived on New Zealand shores and has set its sights on educating Kiwis on the causes and symptoms of dehydration. Hydralyte’s clinical education pharmacist Sarah Gray says ‘it’s important to learn to recognise the signs and symptoms of dehydration in yourself and your family and to be constantly aware of your hydration status’.
Ms Gray recommends that having electrolyte replacement products (which can include ready to use drinks, effervescent tablets, powders and ice blocks) in your fridge, freezer or first-aid kit are a must, as in many cases, being prepared can mean the difference between treating a sick child at home or a trip to the hospital.
Hydralyte’s range is new to New Zealand with a variety of electrolyte/hydration products including Effervescent Electrolyte Tablets (RRP $16.99), Electrolyte Powder (RRP $16.99), Electrolyte Ice Blocks (RRP $16.99) and Ready to Use Solution (1 Litre, RRP $14.99)
Images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – mapichai