dehydration during travel

Dehydration and Travel: how does dehydration occur when travelling?

Dehydration can occur more easily while you’re travelling for several reasons. Firstly, you may not drink enough fluids simply because you don’t have access to clean and safe drinking water in the area where you are travelling. Or you may be too busy and forget to drink fluids.1 Dehydration caused by air travel is particularly common and is due to low humidity levels in aircraft cabins.2 Finally, travellers’ diarrhoea is a leading cause of dehydration in people who travel internationally. In most cases, the diarrhoea occurs in people who travel to areas with poor water and food hygiene.3

What are the signs and symptoms I should be aware of?

Watch out for the following symptoms while travelling, as they could mean you are suffering from dehydration:4
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Decreased urine output
  • Dry skin
  • Tiredness or sleepiness
  • Thirst
Remember that heat exposure and exercise increases the risk of dehydration. It pays to be aware of this when holidaying, for example when walking and sightseeing.5

How can I prevent dehydration when travelling?

Planning ahead is key when it comes to dehydration prevention while travelling. Take extra water with you when travelling outdoors or anywhere where activity levels and heat exposure will increase fluid losses. Avoid drinking alcohol, especially in warm weather. Alcohol increases fluid loss from the body and also impairs your ability to sense the early symptoms of dehydration.6 Dehydration during air travel can be prevented by sipping from a bottle of water throughout the flight. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and colas as these can also have a dehydrating effect.7

How do I treat the symptoms of dehydration when I’m unable to take time to rest properly?

It may not be possible to take the time to slow down and rest if you become ill or mildly dehydrated while travelling. The most important thing to do is to try to restore hydration by drinking small, frequent amounts of fluids8 and speak to a healthcare professional for advice about managing the symptoms.

When should I see a doctor for dehydration symptoms?

Symptoms of mild dehydration can usually be managed yourself. However, you should see a doctor immediately if you develop severe dehydration, with symptoms including severe thirst, no urination, shrivelled skin, confusion and dizziness.4

Traveller’s Diarrhoea/ Gastroenteritis

Traveller’s Diarrhoea (TD) is caused by infectious agents and most cases begin abruptly. The illness results in increased frequency and volume of stool. Typically, a traveller experiences 4‐5 loose or watery bowel movements a day. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, cramping, bloating, fever, urgency and fatigue.9 Dehydration may result from the diarrhoea so it’s important to consume oral rehydration drinks to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.9 If symptoms persist, see a healthcare professional.

Rehydration Formulas

Gastrolyte Electrolyte Rehydration Formula works to assist rehydration. Gastrolyte is available in Ready To Drink packs, which are convenient for use in travel situations where clean drinking water may not be easily accessible. Gastrolyte sachets and effervescent tablets are also an ideal choice for travellers, as they take up very little luggage space and require limited measuring. Use only as directed. Always read the label. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare professional.