Water is never a part of any first aid kit, but perhaps it ought to be. In its various forms, from steam to solid ice, water can be used to prevent and relieve many minor maladies. These uses are fairly well known but in this age of modern, sophisticated medicine, this humble but effective potion has been almost forgotten. Here are some ways with water. Try it. Trust it.
Fever Control: When body temperature shoots high, it must be controlled quickly. Sponging the patient’s body all over with tepid (not cold) water can help bring down the fever. The water should be allowed to evaporate as much as possible, without wiping it off.
Sore Throat: Gargling is a relief measure for that tight sore throat that makes swallowing so painful. It does much to ease discomfort and control the infection. The formula: Half a teaspoon of salt in one glass of warm (not steaming) water. Gargle three or four times a day. It works!
Burns: The best first aid for burns is cool running water (not ice), applied immediately. Hold the burnt areas under a running tap – prompt cooling minimizes the damage to deeper tissues.
Constipation: If you are prone to constipation, try stepping up your water intake to at least 8 glasses a day. Keeping a glass of water by your side and sipping from it from time to time makes it easier to consume than trying to guzzle huge glassfuls at one go.
Diarrhea: Strangely enough, water – which relieves constipation, is equally a must for those with diarrhea. Much of the weakness associated with diarrhea comes from dehydration. A person week with diarrhea should be fed water, thirsty or not.
Dehydration! What is it?
To put it simply dehydration is drying out or losing moisture. Wet clothes become wearable through dehydration, grapes turn into raisins because of dehydration. But when applied to human being, dehydration takes on a rather grim meaning. If not controlled in time, it can even be fatal.
Dehydration occurs when a large amount of body water is lost, but not replenished. When the body’s water content falls below a safe level, resulting in mild dehydration which can progress to serve dehydration. Whether mild or severe, dehydration is dangerous and must be promptly corrected.
Risk of Dehydration: Anyone, who is losing more water than he is taking in, this could happen to people with diarrhea, severe vomiting, high fever with bouts of heavy sweating, or those who are losing excessive amounts of water through the urine, due to untreated diabetes and so on. Babies and children can go into dehydration rather quickly and so can old people.
How to recognize dehydration: Mild dehydration can set in even before a doctor sees the patient. As a safely measure, other family member should learn to watch for symptoms such as these; a dry mouth and tongue, cracked lips, reduced output of urine, skin which looks thin and lax, instead of moist and firm. A child crying without tears, or repeatedly licking the lips, may also be dehydrated.
How to Control Dehydration: Prevention is better than cure is definitely true of dehydration/ As soon as a person begins to suffer diarrhea or vomits more than three or four times, he should make sure that he takes in enough water or other fluids, even if he is not thirsty. A few sips now and then are easier to hold down than larger quantities.
A severely ill person may not indicate thirst or be alert enough to drink. Such person should be fed boiled, cooked water at rate of two or three spoonfuls at a time, every five or 10 minutes. Any light fluid is suitable, but milk is not recommended. A liter of boiled, cooked water with six teaspoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt is the formula recommended for oral re-hydration. Coconut water is also excellent.
Severe hydration however may not be controllable by oral re-hydration alone, especially when the patient is vomiting. In such case, a doctor’s help is needed and fast!
Dehydration is only the side effect of another illness, but sometimes it can prove deadlier than the illness itself. Luckily, it is a condition that can be easily prevented.
Urinary Tract Infections: if you are prone to these, always drink plenty of water especially I you feel an attack coming on, with symptoms of burning during urination and low backache. A very minor infection can literally get washed out with water.
Sprains: Hot water is no longer the recommended treatment for sprains. Ice is the correct first aid. Make an ice pack by trying a few cubes in a cloth and apply to the sprain. Prevents swelling, reduces pain.
Water Exercises: These are recommended for people who are handicapped or are too obese to exercise. Known as aqua aerobics, they are done in a shallow swimming pool. Water is 12 times more resistant than air. Walking through it strengthens muscles more than does walking on land.
You can also burn more calories in the water, if you really work at it. Walking at three miles per hour in mid thigh deep water uses 450 calories in an hour – almost twice as many as does land walking at the speed.
Water buoys you up, lets you move your limbs more freely and lightly than on dry land, gives you the exercise you need – without all that heavy going.
Aches and Pain Relief: water is a good carrier of temperature, so where heat and cold are needed, water can help. Heat relieves muscular or skeletal pain, the kind suffered by arthritics, or bad backs or aches due to injury or exercise. A warm water soak causes blood vessels to dilate. Blood flows away from swollen joints so that they are slightly de-sensitized, temporarily relieving soreness. Application of hot water bottles does help.
Congested Chests: Water is the best expectorant. Frequent sipping of warm water helps thin down phlegm, makes it easier to cough out.
Enema: Something which people hate to think of when in good health, but a great relief for those plagued by stubborn constipation! An enema involves introduction of water into the bowel to induce a bowel movement.
Nose Bleed: A cloth soaked in chilled water, or an ice pack, can help control a nose bleed. Old this cold compress into the ridge of the nose or back of neck till bleeding stops.