Signs of Dehydration & How to Prevent Them?
Dehydration happens when more fluids and water leave the body then it enters. Even mild dehydration can cause headaches, constipation, and lethargy.
A body cannot survive without water. Water is found inside cells, blood vessels, and also between cells. Our body’s water management system keeps our body’s water level in balance, and the thirst mechanism system tells us when a body needs water.
A body constantly loses water throughout the day while we breathe, sweat, urinate and defecate. The body cannot replenish if we don’t drink enough water or fluids.
In most cases, dehydration can be reversed by increasing fluid intake, but if you have serious dehydration, it requires immediate medical attention. When too much water is lost from the body, its cells organs and tissues fail to function, and it can lead to dangerous complications.
What are the signs of dehydration?
The initial signs of dehydration are thirst, dark colored urine, and a decrease in urine production. Urine color is one of the best indicators of your hydration level; if your urine is clear, you are well hydrated, and if your urine is dark in color it means you are dehydrated.
The moderate dehydration occurs when your body loses at least 2% of its fluid.
The symptoms are –
- Weakness in muscles and muscle cramp
- Dry and sticky mouth
When your body loses 10 to 15% of the fluid, severe dehydration occurs. The symptoms of severe dehydration are –
- Low blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Lack of sweating
- Dry skin
- Sunken eye
- Lack of energy, confusion, sleepiness
Symptoms of dehydration in children
Generally, children are more prone to dehydration. Here are some of the symptoms in children –
- Dry tongue and mouth
- No tears while crying
- Sunken cheeks and eyes
- Nova diapers for three or more hours
If your children do not drink plain water, then there are some effective ways you can make them drink water, which will help keep themselves hydrated all the time.
Dehydration can be treated by supplying the fluid in the body. By consuming fluids like water, frozen water, ice pop, sports drinks, juices, extra, you can replenish your body with water. In case the dehydration is severe the patient will require intravenous fluids to rehydrate
It is advisable to avoid drinks containing caffeine such as soda, coffee, and tea.
How to prevent dehydration?
Dehydration is a serious matter. In order to rehydrate yourself –
- Increase the intake of water, ice popsicles, and other fluid.
- Eat water-rich fruits and veggies.
- Avoid caffeine-rich drinks like tea, coffee, and soft drinks.
- Consume electrolyte-containing drinks.
Here are some of the signs of dehydration along with tips to prevent it
Pay attention to the symptoms of dehydration
The initial signs of dehydration include fatigue, vomiting, headache, flushed complexion, etc. The person who is dehydrated feels more irritated and is always exhausted.
When you feel any of these symptoms, it indicates that you are dehydrated and you need to increase your fluid intake.
Drink water as soon as you feel thirsty
The number one sign of dehydration is feeling thirsty.
It is very easy to get wrapped up in our activities in such a busy life and forget to respond to thirst cues. Being thirsty is the body’s way of communicating with us that we need more fuel to function. Make sure to drink purified and clean water only.
It is recommended to keep a bottle of water nearby you so that you can drink whenever you feel thirsty. You can even keep up a reminder or install an app like ‘Drink Water Reminder’ that reminds you to drink water regularly.
To stay hydrated, you can also set a personal hydration goal by challenging yourself to finish a bottle of water before lunch or before you reach home in the evening.
Check your urine color
The color of your urine is the best indication to know whether you are dehydrated or not.
You can take a quick look at the color of your urine when you are using the bathroom. If urine is of dark yellow or brown color, it means you are dehydrated. Consider it a hint that you need to intake fluid.
Study your mouth
One simple way to know how well hydrated you are is to check the moistness of your mouth. If your mouth starts getting dry or if you feel try it means that your body is running low on water.
Forget about eight glasses per day
Most of us have grown up hearing that you need to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Unfortunately, it is not true.
The amount of water needed by a person differs from person to person and also the environment and situation. The exact amount of water depends on various factors like age, activity level, the temperature outside, etc.
According to studies, it is recommended for women to drink 11.4 cups of water and 15.6 cups of water for men.
Drink water while exercising
When you are physically more active, your body demands more water. More water is lost when you exercise as your body sweats a lot and needs fluid to burn the fat.
Many intense athletes can also lose up to 10% of the body weight through sweat during athletic events.
If you do an intense workout, you should check your weight before, and after exercise, if you lose more than one percent of your body weight during a workout, you should drink at least 16 ounces of fluid for electrolyte solution to hydrate yourself.
If you are a gym-goer, there are chances that you already take energy drinks to keep your water level in balance.
Drink more water during summer and when you are sick
If you are dealing with diarrhea or vomiting, you are at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated.
Also, if it is hot outside, it’s always better to intake more fluid. It’s hard to tell how much fluid you should drink when you are sick during summer but it all depends on your body weight and how much you sweat.
If you do not like the taste of water, you can also drink healthy juices.
Know if you are in a high risk group for dehydration
Dehydration is common in all age groups even if you are completely healthy.
But infants’ children and elders need to be careful and stay hydrated. Babies and infants are quickly affected by dehydration, so it is important to consult a pediatrician as soon as you suspect the hydration.
The elders may suffer from dehydration due to their loss of sense of thirst. Certain medical conditions and medications may dehydrate them.
Electrolytes when needed
Most of the time, drinking water is enough to fight dehydration. If you work out or are physically active for more than 60 minutes, it is recommended to drink electrolytes.
Eat hydrating food
One can also prevent dehydration by including fruits and vegetables with high water content. Fruits and vegetables like berries, lettuce, watermelon carrot cucumber are very hydrating.
Pro Tip: To make the most of the fruits and vegetables, make sure to clean them thoroughly with plain water. you can even use vegetables and fruits purifier to get rid of all the dirt and grim on it.
As the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”. Prevention is the best treatment for dehydration. By increasing the intake of fluids and food with high water content, it will prevent dehydration
If you are physically active or working during the hottest part of the day, replenish your body with electrolytes and fluids.
Also, elders and young ones should be given special attention as they are most at risk for dehydration.