Wednesday, July 03, 2002

July 2002 Newsletter

FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter July 2002

It's summer and we all love to spend time outdoors in the warm weather. Keep in mind that it is relatively easy to get dehydrated. Sometimes we don't even know it until we are well into the process of heat exhaustion.

Dehydration is loss of water and important blood salts like potassium (K+) and sodium (Na+). Vital organs like the kidneys, brain, and heart can’t function without a certain minimum of water and salt.

Below are some warning signs for dehydration.

Signs of Dehydration



Dry lips

Slightly dry mouth membranes


Stomach ache


Very dry mouth membranes

Sunken eyes

Sunken fontanelle (soft spot) on infant’s head.

Skin doesn’t bounce back quickly when lightly pinched and released.


All signs of moderate dehydration

Rapid, weak pulse (more than 100 at rest).

Cold hands and feet

Rapid breathing

Blue lips

Confusion, lethargy, difficult to arouse

In severe cases, it takes anywhere from 48 to 72 hours to completely replenish water to normal levels.

Another source of dyhydration on our vacation is flying. The in-flight air is drier than any of the world's deserts. Relative humidity is 20-25% in the Sahara or Arabian deserts, while optimum comfort is around 50% humidity in the air. Basically, there's no way to avoid the fact that your body will become dehydrated to some degree as a result of flying long distances in near-zero humidity in commercial jet cabins. We need to be mindful of our water intake en route, and also remember to drink plenty of pure water for several days after landing.

So drink plenty of water and replace the electrolytes (sodium and potassium). Research has also found that magnesium is sweated out during these times. We must replace this mineral or we can get muscle cramps which can persist well after the body rehydrates the tissues.

So water ,water ,water and electrolytes and magnesium.


Drs. Glenn and Julie Smith