Danes hospitalised after drinking too much tap water

Danes hospitalised after drinking too much tap water
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
A number of people have received hospital treatment after drinking too much tap water in an attempt to stay hydrated.

An unusually high number of hospitalisations have been recorded at Holbæk Hospital due to imbalances in hydration levels caused by drinking too much water.

Doctors at the hospital have treated up to 15-20 patients who drank too much water this summer, compared to the expected one or two people that normally present with the problem during a summer season, local media Nordvestnyt reports.

“It is usually older people who are doing exactly what we have preached for all these years – drinking lots of water,” consultant doctor Henrik Ancher Sørensen at the hospital told Ritzau.

“We have probably not been precise enough by not saying it is important to take in salts and minerals as well as water to replace what we lose in sweat,” Sørensen said.

A drop in salt and mineral levels can result in confusion and giddiness and even lead to unconsciousness and cramps, the doctor said.

“You must drink a lot – in the region of 2.5 litres. That should ideally be a combination of different types of fluid,” he said.

Extremely thinned blood caused by excessive drinking of water can be life-threatening in extreme cases, but Sørensen said he had not seen any such cases this year.

“We have patients that have become very ill because of it. Some so bad that they were admitted to intensive care,” he said.

The consultant said he had spoken to colleagues at Odense University Hospital and the South West Jutland (Sydvestjysk) Hospital in Esbjerg, who reported a similar trend of hospitalisations related to an excess in, or the wrong composition of fluids being drunk by patients.

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