While there are certain types of people who are more prone to dehydration, like athletes and those suffering from serious health problems, anyone can become seriously dehydrated. An average of 12 High school and football players die each year from dehydration, according to a recent study by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury. Professional athletes suffer from dehydration as well, training and competing in extreme heat with little water breaks.
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Whether you are an athlete or someone who suffers from chronic dehydration, hydration therapy may be right for you.
Hydration therapy is the process of providing liquids to patients experiencing dehydration. Hydration therapy can be provided orally or intravenously via IV infusion. Intravenous administration is typically provided to patients suffering from severe dehydration, and especially to those who are unable to properly hydrate.
Homeopathic & Alternative Approach
Homeopathic and alternative medical practitioners provide patients with a form of hydration therapy where water is infused with a variety of herbs. In some cases the pH and salinity of the water is adjusted to achieve certain results.
Dehydration can have a significant negative impact on a person’s health dependent upon the degree. Mild dehydration can cause dry skin, dizziness or lightheadedness, headache and constipation. Likewise, severe dehydration can cause similar symptoms in addition to:
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat and/or breathing
- Delirium or unconsciousness
While dehydration is dangerous, it is avoidable with hydration. The benefits of staying hydrated include improved:
- Cardiovascular health
- Muscular and join movement
- Kidney function
Hydration therapy is prescribed for patients suffering the side effects of dehydration. Treatments are administered based on the patient’s needs. Hydration therapy is minimally invasive, and can be administered in a medical facility or at home by a practitioner.
Intravenous saline was first used by Thomas Latta in the 1832 cholera epidemic. Cholera swept Scotland in 1832. It was a terrible illness with a high mortality rate which was largely due to fluid depletion. It was years later that they found the cause to be contaminated water.
Today we use hydration therapy to rehydrate patients suffering from severe cases of dehydration. People often become dehydrated from being sick and experiencing vomiting, fever or diarrhea.
IV rehydration requires sitting still for a period of one to two hours, but can take longer depending on severity of dehydration. A needle is inserted into the vein, then attached to a tube which is connected to a big which holds the liquid solution. The solution can vary depending on the needs of the patient, but it typically consists of water and either salt or sugar.
What to Expect
The type of fluid solution used is determined by the medical professional. Factors considered include age, medical conditions, and severity of dehydration. The IV bag is prepared and then hung above the patients head next to the patient, while a nurse or practitioner prepares the patient by disinfecting the insertion area. A strong vein is chosen, and then the needle is inserted and attached to the bag via a tube. The IV is typically inserted in the hand or where your forearm meets your upper arm.
IV insertion can be painful, but the pain typically subsides quickly. The amount of fluid entering the vein is regulated by a pump or valve. A nurse or practitioner will check in on you from time to time to make sure the fluid rate is correct. Length of treatment is determined by the level of dehydration.
Risks & Side Effects
The risks in hydration therapy are low in adults. There is a small risk of infection that may occur at the needle site, but these infections can be treated easily in most cases.
Nutrient imbalance can be a risk if the fluid solution contains in inaccurate balance of electrolytes. The practitioner may need to stop treatment and adjust the solution accordingly.
A vein may collapse if the IV is left for a long period of time. If this occurs the needle will be removed, and a new needle will be inserted into another vein.
MayoClinic.com: “Water: How much should you drink every day?”
WebMD Medical Reference: “Dehydration.”
Medscape.com: “Dehydration Treatment & Management.”
Atherly-John YC, Cunningham SJ, Crain EF. A randomized trial of oral vs intravenous rehydration in a pediatric emergency department. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Dec 2002;156(12):1240-3.
Healthline.com: “Intravenous Rehydration.”
New York Daily News “Average 12 high school and college football players die each year, study says.”