Dehydration is a typical summer illness. Hot and humid weather leads to dehydration in the body due to several reasons. Dehydration occurs when there is a mismatch and the amount of water leaving the body is higher than the amount being taken in.
Getting enough fluids in your diet is crucial for a healthy, active life. Harvard University’s School of Public Health stresses that adequate water levels are necessary to regulate body temperature and keep your joints lubricated. It may also help prevent infections and keep your organs functioning properly. On top of that, being well-hydrated may improve sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
Causes of dehydration
Summer is not the only culprit for this condition but is the biggest risk season. The mismatch in the amount of water inside the body can happen because of several reasons:
This is the commonest reason when a person loses excess water. Frequent, watery stools lead to heavy water loss from the body.
Another huge water that drains out from the body is vomiting which is usually accompanied by loose stools as a result of any infection.
Sometimes excessive sweating can lead to dipped water content in the body. Extreme physical activity in hot weather signals the body to produce more sweat to keep it cool but it also can cause dehydration if water is not replenished.
Signs of dehydration
Dehydration becomes quite evident. You may begin to feel the following:
- Dry tongue & mouth
- Flushing of skin
- Fatigue, extreme tiredness
- Intolerance towards heat
- Excessive thirst
- Urine turning dark
- Being cranky or anxious.
- High heart rate with low blood pressure.
- Not being hungry but possibly craving sugar.
- Swelling in the feet.
- Muscle cramping.
Since dehydration can be caused by illness or being in extreme heat, any of us can be susceptible to it. However, there are a few populations that are at a slightly higher risk.
- If you work outdoors, the CDC recommends hydrating before you start the work day if you’re working in high temperatures. If you start the work day dehydrated, it might be harder to replenish what your body has lost.
- Being an older adult. Older people may be at higher risk for dehydration because your body’s fluid reserves decrease as you age. Your body also gets to the point where it might not effectively communicate thirst.
- Infants and toddlers are at risk because they can’t tell you when they’re thirsty. Dehydration can also develop when they’re sick.
- If you have a chronic condition, you might be more susceptible to dehydration, especially if you’re living with a digestive condition that causes frequent diarrhea. Medications can also cause dehydration if they have diuretics in them.
- If you’re pregnant, hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) can cause severe vomiting and make it tough to keep fluids down. In some cases, you might require IV fluids to prevent dehydration.
- If you’re an athlete, it doesn’t matter if you’re outside, indoors, or even in water, athletes can become dehydrated in any setting. When you’re engaged in intense physical activity, your body temperature rises. Sweat cools your body down, but you lose fluids and electrolytes in the process. You can become dehydrated if both aren’t replenished.
Once you recognize that someone is dehydrated, get them out of the heat and give them plenty of fluids.
How to avoid dehydration
When you’re dehydrated, your body can’t function as intended. While you might associate dehydration with extreme temperatures, there are quite a few things that can contribute to it.
1. Drink water:
The ideal way to avoid dehydration is to drink fluids before getting thirsty. Thirst is usually a late sign of dehydration and should not be waited for. The whole point is that the water contained in drinks, as well as vegetables, fruits, and other products, does not provide a full hydro balance in the body and does not allow it to work in the right rhythm.
Therefore, water should be taken, for example, as necessary medicine. And if it is recommended to drink at least two liters a day in a low season, then this norm should be increased by about 25% in summer, as moisture at high temperatures is lost more intensively.
You need to drink water, without waiting for you to dry up a thirst.
Drink water before you start. Once you’re in the heat, drink one cup of water (8 fluid ounces) every 15 to 20 minutes. Avoid drinking more than 48 ounces of water or sports drinks in an hour because doing so might cause the amount of salt in your blood to drop too low. And hydrate after work to replace what you might have lost from sweating.
Dehydration can be prevented by observing some measures
- Avoid heavy, strenuous workouts in the hot climate
- Keep drinking water and other fluids at regular intervals
- Diarrhea and vomiting should be kept under check
- Fluid replacement should be done if loose stools become frequent
- Avoid high salt & high protein diet
2. Eat more vegetables and fruits
The very nature of your help – in the summer your diet can be made so that 50-70% accounted for fresh vegetables and fruits, which contain a large amount of water and, of course, vitamins and minerals.
The Cleveland Clinic offers a comprehensive list of some of the best foods for dehydration recovery. Include them in your diet to stay hydrated and boost your fluid intake.
The following fruits and vegetables are over 90 percent water content and can make it easier to get more fluids in your diet:
- Watermelon flesh contains 91 percent water as well as lycopene, which can help protect your cells from sun damage.
- Strawberries are 91 percent water and boast large doses of flavonoids, a class of antioxidants that may improve cognitive function, among other benefits.
- Cucumbers are 95 percent water and contain anti-inflammatory compounds that help remove waste from the body and may reduce skin irritation. They may also help fight the effects of aging.
- Celery is 95 percent water by weight. Plus, it’s low in calories and high in vitamin K, folate, and potassium.
- Iceberg lettuce contains 95 percent water, while spinach is 91 percent water and chock-full of vitamins, such as A and K, as well as potassium and iron, according to the USDA’s FoodData Central.
- Zucchini contains almost 95 percent water plus antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
- Cauliflower is 92 percent water by weight and delivers high doses of vitamins C and K.
3. Drink freshly squeezed juices and smoothies
If you do not like crunching cucumbers and apples, so you can squeeze out the juices and drink. Just remember that the benefits of juices will only be if you drink them no later than 15 minutes after pressing after those vitamins are rapidly destroyed.
4. Avoid excessive coffee consumption.
Caffeine helps to remove water from the body naturally – the diuretic effect of coffee has been known for a long time.
Therefore, if you are not able to confine yourself to one cup in the morning, drink an extra glass of water for every drunk coffee cup beside the prescribed norm. So, you avoid an intensive loss of moisture.
5. Turn on the air conditioner dosed
Air conditioning usually reduces the level of moisture in the air in the room, which is very bad for the skin. This is manifested in redness and scaling. Therefore, use the air conditioner with the mind or look for other ways of cooling. You can turn on the fan, take a cold shower or keep your feet in a basin with cold water.
To sum up, dehydration is a dangerous situation and should not be taken lightly. One can feel tired, fatigued, or even become unconscious if ignored. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is crucial. Furthermore, if you forget to drink water you can use the Habitomic app to remind you and help you to add this crucial habit to your life.