Dehydration in the summer is common and can be life-threatening. As summer activities ramp up around Annapolis, so does dehydration. Dr. Freedman of Evolve Medical reports they have already begun seeing people who have passed out due to dehydration. What are the warning signs? What can you do to help your family? Take a moment to read and share this important health alert.
What are the Symptoms of Dehydration?
Symptoms of dehydration range from dry mouth, headache and not peeing much to confusion, dizziness or loss of consciousness. Mild dehydration can usually be treated at home but severe dehydration requires a visit to an urgent care or emergency room so it is important to spot the mild symptoms before they become severe.
Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration:
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
- Not urinating much (dry diapers in young ones for 3 hours or more)
- Darker yellow urine
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
- Few or no tears when crying
Signs of severe dehydration:
- Not urinating, or very dark yellow or amber-colored urine
- Dry, shriveled skin
- Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
- Irritability or confusion (Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Rapid heartbeat and lower blood pressure
- Breathing rapidly
- Sunken eyes
- Shock (lack of blood flow through the body)
- Unconsciousness or delirium
Causes of dehydration
Dehydration occurs when there isn’t enough water to replace what’s lost throughout the day. It’s that simple. Your system literally dries out. Sometimes dehydration occurs for simple reasons: You don’t drink enough because you’re busy, or because you lack access to safe drinking water when you’re traveling, hiking or camping. Other times it is because you are sick and have diarrhea or vomiting, fevers or other medical reasons. Either way, the first step is to be aware.
How to Stay Hydrated
- Drink water
- When exercising, drink 7 to 10 oz every 10 – 20 minutes.
- If you exercise for over an hour, replace electrolytes
- Sports drinks and coconut water: Yes, they work
- When we sweat, we lose electrolytes. Research suggests sports drinks can help us rehydrate.
- Not in to sports drinks? Water-enhancing electrolyte tablets, coconut water, or a homemade sports drink could be potentially effective substitutes.
- Turn to fruit and veggies
- Many fruits are a great source of both electrolytes and fluids. Remember that although fruit contains up to 97% water, it’s still not as much as a bottle of water.
- Weigh yourself
- Hop on the scale before and after exercise. For each pound lost during activity, drink an additional 16 ounces of fluid.
- Look at your pee
- Checking the color of your urine can by easy and very helpful. When properly hydrated, urine should be pale yellow. Dark yellow urine may indicate dehydration.
- Pinch yourself
- Skin turgor, which is the skin’s ability to change shape and return to normal (or more simply put, it’s elasticity), is an easy way to check your hydration.
- Keep dry mouth at bay
- One of the first signs of dehydration is dry mouth.
- Stop and immediately hydrate if you feel dizzy
- Feeling lightheaded is a sign of impending more serious dehydration and is an indicator that it’s time to hydrate.
Foods that Help Keep You Hydrated
- 92% water.
- 90% water (and contains lots of vitamin A & C).
- Highest water content of any solid food (96.7%)
- 95% water and only 6 calories.
- Lots of dehydration-busting potassium.
- 95% water and packed with lycopene.
- Grapes are a great source of resveratrol, an antioxidant that lowers blood sugar and can reduce cancer risk. They also have vitamins B1, B2, B6, and K, and potassium.
- 95% water makes it one of the most hydrating foods you can eat, also a great source of folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
- High water content and a good source of potassium and vitamins A and C. On a side note, one study has shown that people who ate one grapefruit a day lowered their bad (LDL) cholesterol by 15.5% and their triglycerides by 27%. In another study, eating half a grapefruit—roughly 40 calories—before each meal helped dieters lose about three and a half pounds over 12 weeks.
- Mixed green salad
- Most leafy greens contain around 90-95% water. They are also rich in thiamin, vitamin B6, iron, and potassium as well as fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, folate and manganese.
If you have any questions or have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, see your primary care physician immediately. Evolve Medical is also happy to see you. Same day scheduling on-line here or call 844-322-4222. Or email them at [email protected]
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