Many people assume that dehydration is something that happens to us when the sun is out, the temperatures are hot, and we’re spending a lot of time outdoors. But dehydration can happen at any time, and often happens during the coldest months of the year because people naturally drink less water during these months.
Water makes up about two thirds of the human body, so it only makes sense that we need to maintain our hydration in order to stay healthy. When we drink non-alcoholic, non-carbonated, and non-sugary drinks, we replenish our body’s own natural ability to heal itself. Water lubricates our joints and eyes, helps our bodies eliminate toxins, and helps facilitate proper digestion.
Dehydration happens when we’ve lost too much water in our bodies without replacing it. Mild dehydration is quickly resolved by increasing our fluid intake; however, severe dehydration can require medical attention, and may even be life-threatening.
Elderly people are especially prone to severe dehydration. As we age, our appetite naturally decreases and so we tend to eat and drink less. However, our physical need for water remains the same.
Children too can be prone to dehydration. Most prefer sugary drinks to more natural water or juice options, which can often lead to a lack of hydration in their bodies.
Here’s how to tell if you, or someone you know is experiencing dehydration:
Mild Dehydration Severe Dehydration
Dry sticky mouth Extreme thirst
Sleepiness or Tiredness Irritability and confusion
Dry skin Sunken eyes
Headache Dry skin that doesn’t bounce back when you pinch it
Constipation Low blood pressure
Dizziness or lightheadedness Rapid Breathing
Minimal urine No tears when crying
Dry, cool skin Fever
Muscle cramps Little or no urination, urine darker in color than usual
In serious cases delirium or unconsciousness may occur
To avoid any of these symptoms try to always keep a water bottle with you, especially during physical activity like working out at the gym, or running. Above all, pay attention to what your body is telling you. And even though it’s still chilly in our neck of the woods, remember to drink up!