How to Recognize the Signs of Dehydration and What to Do

An african american man athlete drinking after a long sports practice

With the summer heat upon us, it’s easy to get dehydrated before you even know it. If you are out in the sun for even 20 minutes, you can become dehydrated if you don’t take proper precautions. Below are the common- and not so common- symptoms of dehydration, tips on what to do if you or your loved ones become dehydrated, and how to prevent dehydration.

Signs:

The most common signs of dehydration are as follows-

Increased thirst
Dizziness
Increased heart rate or irregular heart rate
Weakness
Dry mouth
Swollen tongue
Headaches
Confusion
Fainting
Not able to sweat or urinate
Dark colored urine

Less commonly known symptoms include-

Dry skin
Bad breath
Flushed skin or light rash
Muscle cramps
Craving sweet foods, such as fruit
Fever
Chills
Blurry vision

What do you do if you or someone you know is dehydrated?

-Have them sit in the shade or inside to cool off.
-Allow them small amounts of water at a time, but do not overdo it or drink water too fast, or you may become ill.
-Eat foods such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or bell pepper, which are high in water content.
-Take a cold shower.

If the dehydrated person shows any of the flowing, get them to a medical professional.
Vomiting
Severe diarrhea
Very little urine production
Fever over 101°F
Weight loss
Confusion or memory loss
Lethargy
Chest pains
Seizures
Fainting

You can help prevent dehydration by doing the following:

-Eat fruits high is water content, and low in sodium. Other foods, such as yogurt, are also good choices.
-Take frequent breaks if out in the heat. Get inside to cool off or sit in the shade.
-Use sunscreen to help your skin. This will help seal in moisture and deflect rays of the sun.
-Drink plenty of water, and not just when you are going out. You need to always stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water.
-Take water with you to drink while in the heat. Sports drinks and sodas can actually make you more dehydrated, so avoid those while out in the heat or in excess.

Remember: you can become dehydrated even on cooler days, so don’t think this is something that happens just in the summer. Be vigilant of your own symptoms, as well as those around you. The elderly and children are especially prone to dehydration, and pets can become dehydrated, as well.

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