Dehydration is about so much more than feeling like your mouth is made of sandpaper. Sure, a dry mouth is pretty annoying. Some of the signs of dehydration can be increased thirst, decreased urine output and feeling lethargic.

To avoid dehydration, it helps to understand the role that water and electrolytes play in your body, how your body loses fluid and electrolytes, and what you can do to keep your body well-hydrated. If you do get dehydrated, then it helps to know how to treat it properly.

Both water and electrolytes play a vital role in keeping you hydrated

Fluids in, fluids out

Every day, your body maintains a careful balance between fluids in and fluids out. These fluids usually enter your body through a normal, healthy diet that includes plenty of water; and are lost via urine, sweat, saliva and other bodily fluids.

Sometimes, things get off-balance. You might have a bout of gastro causing vomiting and diarrhoea, you might not be drinking enough fluids during illness, you might sweat heavily due to hot weather conditions or exercise.

Why does your body need water and electrolytes?

To function correctly, your body needs both water and electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium and chloride).

Water helps to maintain body temperature, digest food and lubricate tissues and joints. Electrolytes, help to retain fluid, and maintain good nerve and muscle function.

Top tips to avoid and treat dehydration

  1. Aim to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day. Keeping a water bottle on hand is a great way to hit this quota.
  2. If it’s a hot, dry day then increase your fluid intake – these conditions increase your likelihood of becoming dehydrated.
  3. Learn to recognise the signs and symptoms of dehydration. These include a sticky or dry mouth, increased thirst, fatigue, headache, decreased urine output and dark yellow urine.
  4. Hydralyte can be taken on the first signs of dehydration.
  5. Avoid mixing Hydralyte with sugary drinks as they can actually interfere with the rehydration process (plus, if you have diarrhoea, they can make the condition worse).
  6. To minimise the effects of alcohol-induced dehydration, sip on a glass of Hydralyte before bed to replace water and electrolytes.