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Swine Flu: Preventing Dehydration

When you are sick, not only can your food intake suffer, you may not get in enough liquids, either. Find out how to prevent dehydration during illness.

When you have the flu, it's common to lose your appetite. But when you are sick, not only can your food intake suffer, you may not get in enough liquids, either.

When you lose more water than you take in, you can get dehydrated. Infants and children are at greater risk because of their smaller size. If you also have fever, diarrhea or vomiting, the risk of dehydration is even greater. And though the typical flu does not usually cause diarrhea, some strains may.

Signs and symptoms of mild dehydration
Though symptoms of dehydration can vary from one person to another, the most common signs of mild dehydration include:

  • Thirst

  • Less-frequent urination

  • Concentrated, dark urine

  • Dry, warm skin

  • Increased fatigue

  • Cramping

  • Flushed

  • Headaches

  • Dry mouth

Signs of dehydration in babies and children can include:

  • Being less active

  • Fewer tears when crying

  • Fewer wet diapers than a child normally has, or the weight of the diapers is less than normal for him or her

When to call a doctor
Always call your doctor if you think that you or someone in your family is dehydrated. Though dehydration is sometimes mild, the severe form is a serious medical emergency. A person with severe dehydration may need fluids intravenously (IV, through a needle in the arm) in a clinic or hospital.

Symptoms of moderate to severe dehydration can include the following, and will require emergency medical care:

  • Low blood pressure

  • Severe muscle contractions in the arms, legs, stomach and back

  • Slightly sunken soft spot on top of a baby's head

  • Sunken dry eyes, with few or no tears

  • Skin losing its firmness and looking wrinkled

  • Lack of elasticity of the skin (when a bit of skin lifted up stays folded and takes a long time to go back to its normal position)

Call 9-1-1 if there is:

  • Fainting

  • Extreme irritability, decreased alertness, speech changes, confusion or unconsciousness

  • Seizures or convulsions

  • Any signs of shock, which can include severe weakness; pale, cool or mottled skin; rapid or weak pulse or rapid breathing

Tips for prevention
Follow these tips to help stay hydrated when you are sick with the flu.

  1. Drink small amounts of fluid often. Aim for small sips (a teaspoon to an ounce) every few minutes.

  2. In addition to plain water, make sure some of your fluids contain sugars for energy, as well as salts to replace the salts lost in sweat, urine, and stool. Some good choices include:

    • Fruit and vegetable juices

    • Soups and broths

    • Gelatin

    • Sport drinks for older children and adults

    • Oral rehydration solutions for infants and children (such as Pedialyte)

    • Decaffeinated tea with honey

  3. Infants or toddlers who are breast-feeding should keep doing so. For children who are not breast-feeding, ask your doctor to suggest an oral rehydration solution.

  4. Avoid alcohol and drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea and some soft drinks. These can cause increased urination, making the dehydration worse.

  5. If you have dry mouth and/or chapped lips (often due to breathing through an open mouth rather than through the nose), drink small amounts of fluid or suck on ice chips or hard candy.

    • Use petroleum jelly products (such as Vaseline or Chap-stick) to moisten lips.

    • Although dry mouth and chapped lips can occur with dehydration, they alone are not always signs of it.

Watch the person who is sick carefully for any signs of dehydration. Call your doctor and order Fildena if you think he or she is becoming dehydrated.

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  • Aug 24 2021
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