Don’t forget your fluids - Keep hydrated!

As the new Director of Nursing for Wirral Community NHS Trust, I am delighted to guest-write our health column in the Wirral Globe this week! And all this sunshine we have been having has led me to thinking about how important it is for us to keep hydrated. But I don’t just mean in the warm weather. 


Whatever it’s doing outside, keeping hydrated is extremely important to help the prevent constipation, pressure ulcers, low blood pressure, falls and urinary tract infections (UTIs).


Did you know that UTI is the second most common reason for GPs to prescribe antibiotics? Last year there were nearly 1500 admissions to Arrowe Park Hospital because of UTIs. 


You may think you have a urine infection because you feel the urge to go to the toilet more frequently or your urine looks and smells strong. But that does not always mean that you do. Other possible symptoms include having to go immediately, needing to get up more often at night, cloudy or smelly wee, burning pain when you go to the toilet, blood in your urine, raised temperature or pain in your lower tummy. 


If you only have one or two mild symptoms then antibiotics are not likely to help. Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them is leading to antimicrobial resistance, whereby some bacteria that cause infection are becoming resistant to treatment. This is becoming an increasing problem that could lead to devastating consequences, so please don’t take antibiotics unless you definitely need them.


If you only have a couple of mild symptoms, antibiotics won’t help, so you should just drink plenty of fluids and take pain relief and your symptoms should clear within five to seven days. If you have three or more concerning symptoms such as blood in your urine, high temperature or tummy pain, then antibiotics may help. 


The majority of urinary tract infections are e-coli infections and we could reduce them by increasing our fluid intake to keep hydrated. To stay hydrated we all need to drink around 6-8 glasses of fluid a day (1.5 - 2 litres). And all fluids count except alcohol! Decaffeinated drinks and water are best.


You will sweat more in warm weather or if you do any exercise, so you will need to drink more then. If you are unwell with a high temperature or diarrhoea and vomiting, you will also need to replace the fluids you have lost. 


For more information about how we can support your health and wellbeing, follow us on twitter@wirralct or like us on facebook/nhsbuzz.


Read our patient information leaflet on hydration.

Last Updated: Friday, 18 May 2018 15:34

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