If you’ve been to a doctor’s surgery in or around Mansfield recently you’ve probably seen posters up on the walls asking patients to check the colour of their wee.
The campaign, which is called 1,2,3 Healthy Wee, provides a simple test people can use to check if they are getting enough fluids to stay hydrated, healthy and prevent infections.
When you’re dehydrated, it means your body loses more fluid than it’s taking in.
The mineral balance of your body is upset and it can’t function as normal.
Left unchecked, it increases the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), particularly among older people.
It can also lead to a range of other complaints such as kidney stones, constipation, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
UTIs are one of the most common reasons we doctors prescribe antibiotics in GP practices.
They can be very unpleasant and lead to more dangerous conditions such as E.coli Bloodstream Infection.
Worryingly, cases of E.coli Bloodstream Infections are on the rise locally.
In a 12-month period last year there were 44 cases of E.coli in Mansfield.
But this year there have already been 55 cases since the beginning of April.
This could be linked to the hot summer we’re having and more people getting dehydrated.
You’ll know if you’re dehydrated, because many of the symptoms are obvious.
Dark yellow or strong strong smelling wee is a clear sign you’re not getting enough to drink.
Weeing less than four times a day is another symptom.
But sometimes people can start to become dehydrated before they feel thirsty.
If you’re feeling a little parched, you’ve lost around one per cent of the water in your body – lose two per cent and you’re officially dehydrated.
The posters in local surgeries offer a more accurate guide of how hydrated you are, based on the colour of your wee.
By keeping this simple chart in mind, watching out for any changes and staying hydrated, it’s possible to prevent UTI’s and more serious infections from occurring.
This reduces the need for antibiotics, or could even prevent an unwanted stay in hospital.