Dehydration: Symptoms, Causes, & Prevention
Imagine this: It is sunny and 95° in the middle of July. You and your friends just set out on a
light 5-mile loop hike along a trail you’ve done countless times. Around mile 3 your friend starts to become extremely light-headed, has dry lips, and is feeling very thirsty. After moving them to a shaded place the group comes to the consensus that they are dehydrated and need to drink water immediately.
Dehydration means your body loses more fluids than you take in. If it’s not treated, it can get worse and become a serious problem. In this instance, due to the heat and the hike ahead of them, their body was losing more water than what was being consumed.
There were several signs that indicate you or someone you know may be experiencing dehydration. Some of the most common symptoms are feeling thirsty, dark yellow urine, feeling lightheaded, dizzy, tired, dry mouth, lips, and eyes as well as urinating fewer than four times a day. In the instance at hand, the indications were lightheadedness, dry lips as well as the constant feeling of thirst.
Babies, children, and the elderly are more at risk of dehydration. How does one prevent dehydration in babies, children, and the elderly? For babies, it is recommended to go with the little and often approach. This is feeding them small amounts more frequently. This method will allow them to have a constant flow of liquids in their system instead of all at once. With children, it is recommended to give small children their usual diet along with some extra water. A fun way to encourage children to up their water intake is by making homemade ice pops for them to have in the summer!
Dehydration in the elderly can be a lot harder to detect for various reasons. As people age, their sense of thirst decreases which makes it less likely for them to recognize that they should be drinking. An elderly person may not have that dry mouth sensation or a natural thirst response. A way to make sure the elderly consume enough water is to space it out during the day. Create a schedule for drinking to stay on track; have a glass of water first thing in the morning, drink with every meal etc. This will help reduce the stress of drinking a big thing of water all at once.
There are certain things that can make people more susceptible to dehydration. These include diabetes, recent vomiting or diarrhea, being in the sun for an extended period, and consuming large amounts of alcohol. If you or someone you know is dealing with any of these conditions, remind them to drink water to help prevent further dehydration.
If you or someone you know is dehydrated, the first thing to do is move them out of direct sunlight and into a cool place. This will help eliminate the direct heat from the sun and help the body cool. Provide them with plenty of fluids and water rich snacks to help increase their water intake. Fizzy drinks may contain more sugar than you need and may be harder take in large amounts. It is best to stick to water since it is easier to consume in large amounts.
Foods with a high water content help combat dehydration without directly drinking a ton of water. These foods include various melons, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries and celery.
Dehydration is something that most people struggle with once in their life. Dehydration is also most common in babies, children and the elderly. If you are aware of the symptoms that come with being dehydration it makes it easier to prevent it before it gets severe. On hot summer days it is important to increase your water intake especially if you are outside. Increasing your water intake will allow you to feel better and continue to partake in your favorite outdoor activities! Increasing your water intake can be done from drinking water directly or consuming foods containing a high water content.