Hydration is critical, because your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly. The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. The body is made up of approximately 75% water. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration, and is contained in lean muscle, fat and bones.
As your body can’t store water, we need fresh supplies every day to make up for losses from the lungs, skin, and bodily waste. The amount you need depends on your body size, metabolism, the weather, the food you eat and your activity levels.
Water is needed for most body functions, including:
• maintain the health and integrity of every cell in the body
• keep the bloodstream liquid enough to flow through blood vessels
• help eliminate the byproducts of the body’s metabolism, excess electrolytes (for example, sodium and potassium), and urea, which is a waste product formed through the processing of dietary protein
• regulate body temperature through sweating
• moisten mucous membranes such as those of the lungs and mouth
• lubricate and cushion joints
• reduce the risk of cystitis by keeping the bladder clear of bacteria
• aid digestion and prevent constipation
• moisturize the skin to maintain its texture and appearance
• carry nutrients and oxygen to cells
• serve as a shock absorber inside the eyes, spinal cord and in the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus in pregnancy.
- Normal Saline: Normal saline is a sterile mixture of sodium chloride (salt) and water. It is called normal because its salt concentration is similar to tears, blood, and other body fluids (0.9% saline).
- Lactated Ringer’s: Lactated Ringer’s has similar osmolality to body fluids, meaning that it maintains fluid volumes in balance between the space inside and outside the blood vessels. Lactated Ringer’s contains electrolytes, substances necessary for cell functioning, such as sodium, chloride, potassium and calcium, but not in the same proportion as the human body. The lactate in the solution has an alkalizing effect.
- Sterile Water: Sterile water is prepared by distillation and contains no antimicrobial or bacteriostatic agents or added buffers.
- D5 Water: D5 Water is 5% dextrose in water. It is used to treat dehydration (fluid loss), and provide carbohydrates to the body.