Hydration vital for coronavirus sufferers, says dietitian

Staying hydrated will be vital for athletes and the general public alike should they contract coronavirus, according to a leading dietitian.

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection is rising rapidly in the UK, and among the symptoms reported among sufferers are fever and laboured breathing.

Dr Sarah Schenker, a sports dietitian who has worked with professional athletes and teams, says correct hydration will be an important consideration for sufferers.

"Water is needed for so many things in the body, but one of the key things is respiration and healthy lungs. So there's a function there," she told the PA news agency.

"You mustn't over-drink, just keeping yourself in tip-top condition and part of that is being hydrated. People often focus on food and vitamins which is quite right but they overlook the importance of maintaining good hydration throughout the day.

"It's really important to drink little and often. If you have got those symptoms then those are really key areas, you need plenty of fluids."

Dr Schenker is a consultant for WOW Hydrate, the sports drinks manufacturer who include heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury among their ambassadors, and she highlighted the importance of drinks containing electrolytes in helping people to be properly hydrated.

"If you feel thirsty or dehydrated and you take a big drink of water all at once, the body detects this and often excretes more than it hangs onto because it's just plain water," she said.

"If you take regular sips of water that's got electrolytes added to it, it helps you hydrate a little bit more quickly and it also helps to regulate fluid balance."

And for those struggling with the mental demands of being on lockdown with their families, Dr Schenker also raised the importance of remaining hydrated.

"Being dehydrated can really affect your mood, and your ability to concentrate, you can feel lethargic and irritable," she said.

"If we've got weeks of this to come, it's important to stress that our mental health mustn't be overlooked and hydration plays a part in that."