Danes hospitalised after drinking too much tap water

A number of people have received hospital treatment after drinking too much tap water in an attempt to stay hydrated.

Danes hospitalised after drinking too much tap water
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

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.

READ ALSO: Nordic and Mediterranean countries can make more of healthy cuisine: WHO


Readers’ tips: How to get the most out of a holiday in Denmark

We asked our readers for tips on how to save money when holidaying in Denmark and for some of the best things to do. This is what they said.

Readers' tips: How to get the most out of a holiday in Denmark
The ferry to Anholt, the far-flung island in the middle of the Kattegat Sea is free for foot passengers and cyclists. Photo: Visit Anholt
Take advantage of the cheap train tickets
Fabrizio, from Italy, recommends the Rejsepas (travel pass) from the Danish train company DSB, which gives holders a week's totally free public transport across the whole of Denmark from June 27th until August 9th, and only costs 299 kroner. It's an incredible deal, so incredible in fact that all 50,000 tickets were quickly snapped up this year. If you missed it, you'll have to wait until next year. 
But you can still get so-called 'orange tickets', which are on sale for a maximum of 99 Danish kroner, which is also a pretty good deal. 
Nadine Morgan says it's important to book train tickets in advance, as they are then much cheaper than on the day. 
Take advantage of the free ferries 
As part of the government's “summer package”, pedestrians and cyclists travelling to Denmark's smaller islands, as well as to Fanø, Læsø, Ærø and Samsø in August and September can travel for free, points out Martin, a Danish reader.
There are also reduced prices on all ferries for cars, and reduced prices on the ferry to Bornholm. 
Go camping 
Vanessa Lima, from Brazil, recommends camping wild on some of Denmark's less frequented beaches. “Just find a place to camp there and spend few days with nature,” she says. 
Don't eat in restaurants too much 
Denmark's restaurants are some of the most expensive in the world, so a great way to save costs is to buy food in supermarkets and cook it yourself. “You don't necessarily need to eat out at every restaurant for every meal, so consider packing or making your own meals. Food costs go a long way,” Morgan says. 
Marta, from Poland, agrees, adding that you can save a lot of money by having barbecues while camping. 
Take advantage of the summer freebies in cities. 
“There are plenty of free things to do in Copenhagen. And until the middle of August a lot of museums are half price,” says the British travel blogger Karen Smedley. “The harbour bus is great for sightseeing, as is walking around the capital and admiring the architecture. There are plenty of lovely parks, especially the deer park, which are all free.”
Use student discounts
One Hungarian international student recommends take advantage of the thousands of student discounts on offer in Denmark, many of which relate to things you'd like to do on holiday. The train company DSB offers 25 percent discounts for students, and the student website Studenterguiden, has a whole section devoted to them, with discounts to most museums, and many theatres. 
The smaller islands
Morgan thinks Rømø Strand is Denmark's best beach. It's such a unique beach where you can drive for a few kilometres on the beach itself and enjoy the low tide of the water, and then when high tide comes, you have to hurry out. It's great because you can stay there for hours, it's family friendly, and its really beautiful with soft sand and seashells and few crabs walking around.” 
Allegra De María, from Italy, also recommends Denmark's “smaller islands”, as the best places to get away from it all. You can check out a list here at the Visit Denmark website.  
Beaches between Aarhus and Skagen 
Lima recommends travelling a little south down the coast towards Aarhus from the most popular areas around Skagen. “Not too close to Skagen or Aarhus, [the beaches are] usually good places to enjoy nature.
Enjoy the parks around Copenhagen 
Morgan is a big fan of the Dyrehaven, or Deer Park in Klampenborg north of Copenhagen.
“Dyrehaven is really beautiful and its my favourite park in Denmark that I have visited so far. I arrived there the first time on a fall [autumn] morning and they sky was clear blue and the air was brisk, and the colour of the leaves were a perfect beautiful orange and brown and there were deers roaming all over the park. It's a beautiful walk in the park and you can bring a picnic and sit there and enjoy nature.” 
Megan Miller, from Scotland, recommends bicycling around Copenhagen's Amager island to Dragør, the prosperous 19th century sea-faring town south of Copenhagen. 
Day trips to sea near Copenhagen 
Maria Andrianova, a tour guide from Russia, recommends the chalk cliffs at Stevns Klint, a UNESCO site with a great sea view. “I was quite impressed to learn that a part of the church fell down onto the seashore in 1928. The island of Møn has a very similar breathtaking landscape, but Stevns Klint is closer to Copenhagen”.
“I am also a big fan of Bellevue Beach near Klampenborg station – especially because of all the history and architecture behind it,” she says. “The small lifeguard towers on the beach were designed in the 1930s by famous Arne Jacobsen, and there are a whole bunch of great buildings also designed by him just next to the beach (like the Bellevue Theatre, Bellavista Housing Estate, and Skovshoved Petrol Station).
Visit Denmark's excellent open air museums
Morgan is also a fan of Den Gamle By [the old city] in Aarhus and the Frilandsmuseet in Lyngby, both of which showcase Danish architecture of different periods and try to recreate how life has changed across the centuries. 
“In Den Gamle By, you get to go inside a pretty big area where it feels more like a city or small town, and you get to go into all of the houses that were imported from different parts of denmark and placed there and rebuilt to their original state, and also travel through time the further you progress into the open-air museum.”