Drinking water is essential for having a healthy functioning body. Hydration increases energy, relives fatigue, promotes weight loss, flushes toxins, improves skin complexion and boosts immune system. Each day, your body must replace 2.4 liters or about 2.5 quarts of water through ingested liquid and foods.
7 tips to help you stay hydrated
- Drink first thing in the morning
- Drink water with each meal
- Drink when you are thirsty
- Carry water with you
- Keep a bottle within arm’s reach: at your desk, beside your bed, in your car
- Flavor your water with tea or fruit
- Monitor your Urine
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid out of your body than you are consuming which impacts your body functions. Common causes of dehydration include vomiting, infections, illness/fever, increased urination, or excessive sweating.
Signs and symptoms differ with age, but most commonly thirst is a sign, however it is usually a sign after someone is already dehydrated.
- Children: dry mouth and tongue, no tears when crying, no wet dippers for three hours, sunken eyes and/or cheeks, sunken soft spot on top skull, restlessness or irritability
- Adult: Extreme thirst, less frequent urination, dark colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion.
When to call a doctor: if you or someone you know has had diarrhea for 24 hours or more, unable to keep fluids down, or has bloody or black stool.
Consequences of Dehydration
- Heat Injury – raging from muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke which can be life threatening.
- Body dysfunctions – Urinary trait infections, kidney stones, kidney failure, seizures, electrolyte imbalances.
Who is at risk
- Older adults and children are most at risk for developing dehydration
- Older adults have a higher risk due to naturally having a lower volume of water in their bodies, taking medications which could increase dehydration, and risk for illness and infection which could increase dehydration.
- Children are at higher risk due to serve diarrhea and vomiting and inability to tell someone they’re thirsty.
- People who work or exercise outside.
- People with chronic illness such as Diabetes and Kidney Failure.
- Everyone is at risk during extreme hot and cold weather conditions, and when performing intense exercise.
- Replacement of lost fluids and electrolytes via water, pedialyte, Gatorade
- Avoid caffeinated beverages as these can cause further dehydration
- However, if fluids cannot stay down when drinking it may be necessary to go to the emergency room to obtain rehydration intravenously
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (2016). Dehydration. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/home/ovc-20261061