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Guest Column: Staying hydrated helps keep us all healthy

Dr Gavin Lunn, chairman of Mansfield & Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group
Dr Gavin Lunn, chairman of Mansfield & Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group

As the weather improves it is especially important to keep hydrated to prevent infections and stay healthy.

As we get older, changes to the urinary system can make both men and women more at risk of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI).

There are important things that we can do and one of these is to drink more fluids especially in hot weather to prevent dehydration.

Getting dehydrated increases the risk of urinary tract infection.

Alcohol and caffeinated drinks can also increase dehydration; water and sugar free drinks are better choices when trying to hydrate.

UTIs are one of the most common reasons for antibiotics being prescribed in the community.

Symptoms of a UTI include needing to wee suddenly or more often, pain or a burning sensation when weeing, smelly or cloudy wee, blood in your wee, pain in your lower tummy and feeling tired and unwell.

In older people, changes in behaviour such as severe confusion or agitation might also be apparent

To help reduce the chances of getting a urine infection, drink 1.5 to two litres of water per day unless otherwise advised by a medical professional.

Wipe from front to back with toilet tissue when you have been to the loo and try to fully empty your bladder when you wee.

Wee as soon as possible after sex to flush away bacteria.

Take showers instead of baths.

Change continence pads regularly especially if they are soiled and use disposable unscented cleansing wipes for cleaning if this is needed.

Change your baby’s or toddler’s nappies regularly, especially if they are soiled.

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water after using the toilet.

Don’t sit out in warm weather without drinking enough fluids and don’t use flannels, unless it is a new one each time, as they can harbour bacteria.

Don’t hold your wee in if you feel the urge to go.

Don’t wear tight, synthetic underwear, jeans or trousers and don’t use perfumed bubble bath, bar soap or talcum powder.

It is estimated that 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections.

Antibiotics are essential for treating serious infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis.

We all have a part to play in helping to tackle antibiotic resistance.

You can help by only taking antibiotics if prescribed by your doctor and always completing the full course of antibiotics, even if you feel well again.

Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics if they are the right treatment for your illness.

Take any old antibiotics to the pharmacy to be disposed of properly and safely.