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Rehydration: Why It is So Important

Rehydration: Why It is So Important

by: Dr. Amitava Sen Gupta
Director - Mother & Child, Neonatology and Paediatrics

Childhood diarrhea accounts for a substantial number of primary care visits. Historically, pediatric diarrheal disease was a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in children. Treatment for acute gastroenteritis has changed greatly over the past century, from IV Therapy to the current use of oral rehydration therapy (ORT). Rapid evacuation of fluids from the body, which can be caused by cholera or diarrhea diseases, may lead to chronic dehydration and eventually death. Oral Rehydration Salts are a solution of sugars and salts which helps to slow the evacuation of fluids, allowing for the absorption of electrolytes in the intestines. Rehydration is the replenishment of water and electrolytes lost through dehydration. It can be performed by mouth (oral rehydration) or by adding fluid and electrolytes directly into the blood stream.

Importance of Rehydration:

  • ORS is the best treatment for dehydration – Oral rehydration therapy has gained worldwide acceptance as the standard treatment for acute diarrhoeal diseases in infants and children. Besides the high sodium glucose-electrolyte solution based on the WHO/UNICEF recommendations, many diverse formulations of oral rehydration solutions (ORS) have withstood the trial of prolonged clinical use, their main differences concerning the concentration of sodium, the choice of the glycidic component, the use of bicarbonate as buffer or its substitution with acetate or citrate.
  • Water is an important element for overall health – Rehydration ensures that the amount of water necessary. People drink lot of water to remain hydrated. Rehydration prevents dehydration, which occurs during breathing, sweating and excretion. Your body makes use of a combination of eating and drinking to remain sufficiently rehydrated.
  • Thirst can cripple you – When you feel thirsty, your body indicates that it needs rehydration. Dehydration makes your muscles fatigued. You may experience a lack of coordination and muscle cramps. The body may also lose its ability to cool itself during such heavy action as tough physical work. Consequently, the body may undergo heat exhaustion or stress. This could be fatal if the levels of exhaustion are too high – a condition known as heat stroke.
  • Rehydration can help to reduce weight – However, this could have a lot to do with the water filling the stomach than any other digestive reason. If you drink more water during meals, your ability to eat more food may reduce, causing you to reduce weight.
  • Rehydration can help in prevention – Rehydration can assist with preventing or mitigating the effects of such health conditions such as
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bladder Infection
  • Kidney Stones

Drink more water and stay healthy.

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