Water under the bridge

Apr 2013
Water under the bridge
If your child is just 1% dehydrated they will experience up to a 5% decrease in brain function.

We know that still waters run deep, that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. We have all experienced feeling like a fish out of water, like we are treading water, and even on occasion that we are in hot water! But water is important for more than just sayings! Water makes up around 70% of the human body and it helps the body work. In order for our systems to work well we need to stay hydrated.

Around two thirds of the water the body needs comes from what we drink. Children lose water all the time through the normal processes of breathing, sweating and physical activity. The brain is 85% water; being fully hydrated means your child will be able to think faster, be more focussed, and have greater clarity of thought. It also helps creativity.

If your child is just 1% dehydrated they will experience up to a 5% decrease in brain function. This will affect their short-term memory, make it difficult for them to focus and simple maths may seem much more challenging. Drinking water regularly helps keep the brain fuelled, energized, and alert. It is also worth noting that no other drink provides the same level of hydration.

It is generally said that adults need to drink around eight glasses of water a day. There is no such recommendation for children, though they will generally need less than adults, this will vary depending on their age, the outside temperature and the kind of activity they are doing.

Thirst is a sign of dehydration and water is the best cure, though semi-skimmed milk, squash and fruit juice are also fine. If it is warm, your child is playing sport, studying for exams, feeling unwell, dizzy, or unusually tired give them a glass of water as these may all result in dehydration or be symptoms of dehydration.

Although children may prefer a fizzy drink or something sweet, water really is the best medicine and although your child may protest it won't be long before it is all just water under the bridge!