Dr Ali Bigonah writes regular articles for Fethiye Times. With temperatures rising both in Turkey and the UK, we thought we’d re-publish this article as it is very important that you stay hydrated in the summer heat.
Dr Ali’s holiday advice – Dehydration
If you’ve planned a holiday to Turkey chances are you will have bought Travel Insurance (including healthcare) and stocked up on various creams and tablets to cover every eventuality.
We hope your visit will be illness and incident free however, unfortunately holidaymakers do sometimes need to visit a doctor for various, sometimes preventable, reasons.
We were discussing this at Fethiye Times and decided it would be useful to bring you a series of articles, written by a qualified member of the medical profession, about various health issues that may arise during your visit including how to prevent them and when you DO need to seek medical attention. One of our local doctors agreed to help us.
Dr Ali Bigonah
Click here to find out more about Dr Ali Bigonah and his qualifications.
Temos is the official hospital certifier of the Diplomatic Council.
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Welcome to Dr Ali’s first article
It has been exceptionally hot lately and the first article focuses on dehydration.
Dehydration happens when your body doesn’t have as much water (and minerals) as it needs. Without enough, your body can’t function properly. You can have mild, moderate, or severe dehydration depending on how much fluid is missing from your body.
It’s normal to lose water from your body every day by sweating, breathing, peeing, and pooping. Usually you replace the lost liquid by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. If you lose too much water or don’t drink and eat enough, you can get dehydrated.
A body can lose 5-6 litres of fluid in hot, dry weather by not being sensible and not following the guidelines at the end of this article.
Dehydration has a wide range of symptoms and signs dependent on age, health condition and race. Experts classify dehydration in three groups; mild, moderate and severe.
Symptoms and signs
Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:
-Dry, sticky mouth
-Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
-Decreased urine output
-No wet diapers for three hours for infants
-Few or no tears when crying
-Dizziness or lightheadedness
Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:
-Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
-Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
-Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be darker than normal
-Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
-In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head
-Low blood pressure
-No tears when crying
In the most serious cases, dehydration can cause delirium or unconsciousness.
Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
Unfortunately, thirst isn’t always a reliable gauge of the body’s need for water, especially in children and older adults. A better indicator is the color of your urine: Clear or light-colored urine means you’re well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.
Children and older adults
Treat children and older adults with greater caution. See a doctor right away if your loved one:
Develops severe diarrhea, with or without vomiting or fever
Has bloody or black stool
Has had moderate diarrhea for 24 hours or more
Can’t keep down fluids
Is irritable or disoriented and much sleepier or less active than usual
When to see a doctor
If you’re a healthy adult, you can usually treat mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, such as water or sports drinks that contain electrolytes or rehydration solutions to help restore your electrolyte balance. Seek immediate medical care if you develop severe signs and symptoms such as extreme thirst, a lack of urination, shriveled skin, dizziness and confusion.
How to stay hydrated
The heat makes you sweat, which cools you down, but that also means you’re constantly losing fluid. Here’s how to stay hydrated:
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty! Drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration or over exhaustion.
The amount of water that adults need varies, but in general, men should drink at least 13 cups (3 liters) of fluids per day. Women should drink at least nine cups (2.2 liters) of fluids per day. Your child or teen should drink at least six to eight cups of water a day. Also, pay special attention to your child’s or teen’s water consumption when they are physically active. Before, during and after any physical activity, kids need to drink plenty of water, especially in hot weather. The goal is to drink a half cup to two cups of water every 15 to 20 minutes while exercising.
Remember that babies and toddlers can’t or may not tell you they are thirsty!
Use the color of your urine to guide if you’re hydrated enough — the clearer the better.
All natural juice without added sugar not only provides hydration but also important nutrients to keep you active in hot weather. Fresh is best however if you buy it check the label on the juice bottle and make sure it says “100 percent juice with no sugar added.”
Eat hydrating foods
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables with a high water content.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol will dehydrate you. If you can’t barbecue without a brew, drink a bottle of water between each alcoholic beverage to stay hydrated.
Like alcohol, caffeine sucks the moisture out of you. On hot days, avoid it as much as possible, especially when combined with alcohol.
When to get out of the sun
Avoid peak hours of sunlight when the temperatures and UV rays are at their highest, normally between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. That’s the best time to head inside, have lunch and water, let your body cool down, and maybe even take a nap.
Doctors and hospitals
If you do need a doctor during your stay Dr Ali is on call 24 hours a day in the Çalış and Fethiye area.
Other local doctors can be found very easily as there are clinics in most areas which are mostly open 24 hours during the peak summer season.
The local hospitals also provide emergency medical care.