Blackburn with Darwen CCG is raising awareness of the importance of drinking enough fluids to mark National Hydration Week (14-20 March).
Six to eight glasses of fluid per day is the recommended amount you should drink to avoid becoming dehydrated. This includes water, diluted fruit juice, semi skimmed milked or diluted squash.
Blackburn with Darwen CCG is currently redesigning a new hydration pathway and is working closely with district nurses, GPs and care homes to promote the important of fluid monitoring but also the best way to rehydrate patients once they are ill. Dehydration can compound existing illness and sometimes lead to unnecessary hospitalisation.
Anyone can become dehydrated, but certain groups including babies and infants, older people and those with long term health condition, are particularly at risk.
Dr Malcolm Ridgway, Clinical Director Quality and Effectiveness at the CCG, also wants to raise awareness with relatives and carers as it is one of the main reasons that older people are admitted to hospital.
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in.Water makes up over two-thirds of the healthy human body and is necessary for the circulation, lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps the skin healthy.
Some of the early warning signs of dehydration include:
- Muscle cramps
- Dizziness or light headedness
- A dry mouth
The climate, the amount of physical exercise you are doing (particularly in hot weather) and your diet can contribute to dehydration.
You can also become dehydrated as a result of an illness, such as persistent vomiting and diarrhoea, or sweating from a fever.
Dr Malcolm Ridgway, Clinical Director Quality and Effectiveness, said: “Dehydration is one of the main reasons that older people end up in hospital. It is important to monitor their fluid levels in order to keep them healthy but when dehydration occurs we want to be able to manage this in the community and maintain people in their own homes.
“Older people are particularly at risk because their sense of thirst appears to reduce as they get older, conditions such as dementia or mobility issues can have a huge effect too,
“Some people struggle drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day but if you notice any changes in the usual drinking pattern of an older person, then action needs to be taken straight away. Try and increase their fluid intake for 24 hours and if that doesn’t improve, or you have concerns about the person, seek medical help.”