It’s a truism everyone knows that you need to drink fluids when you’re unwell, but if you don’t know why it’s harder to do it effectively, and to find the motivation to try. Today we’re taking a look why it’s important, and giving advice on finding a safe way to rehydrate when you’re sick.
Why is Hydration Important?
Hydration is important all year round, whether you’re healthy or sick. Water is one of the most important substances in your body. It helps to regulate your temperature, keep your joints lubricated, transport key chemicals around your body where they’re needed, and even maintain your cells’ basic structure: water keeps them rigid and in line. Dehydrated cells shrink and sag.
When you’re dehydrated you can experience headaches, confusion, muscle aches, and dips to your mood, cognition and sleep quality. It’s well worth keeping hydrated.
More Than Water
When you get dehydrated, it’s not just water that you lose. Dissolved in your body’s fluid reserves are electrolytes: water soluble salts used for important functions in your body, including nerve impulse transmission and muscle function, and maintaining the fluid balance in your cells. If you’re trying to rehydrate, you need to consider electrolytes as well as liquid levels.
In Sickness and In Health
It’s important to stay hydrated at all times, but especially so when you’re sick. When you’re unwell, your body needs every advantage to help it recover, but also, these are the precise times when you’re most likely to be dehydrated. Whether you’re simply lacking in energy and aren’t getting up to refill your glass as often as normal, or your condition is actively dehydrating you – like a raised body temperature causing sweating, or through vomiting and diarrhea- it’s much easier to get into a dehydrated state when you’re sick.
Hydrating When You’re Ill
When you’re ill, you need a hydration solution that’s convenient, works quickly and doesn’t put undue stress on your body. Simply drinking a lot of water might be too cumbersome if you’re sick and feverish, and if you’re suffering from an upset stomach it can make you feel overfull and bilious! On top of that, simply drinking water without also topping up your electrolytes can leave you worse off – it dilutes the electrolytes you have remaining, potentially making them less effective.
Available from the chemist or online, you can get rehydration sachets or tablets: these dissolve in water, and contain all the salts you need to restore your electrolyte levels at the same time you’re topping up your fluids, making rehydrating more efficient and easier on your body!
These products are normally sold without additives, beyond options flavours, so they’re easy on the stomach and safe to take if you’re ill, pregnant or even hungover!