dehydration-symptoms
HEALTH

Dehydration – More Common Than You Think

dehydration-symptoms

Up to 75% of our body weight is made up of water.

Five quarts of blood coursing through your body are ninety percent water, and the rest of your body holds between fifty and eighty quarts of water. Your brain and nerve tissues are eighty percent water. Most of ‘you’ is water.

Just a few percent drop in hydration will make your short-term memory so fuzzy that you will be unable to remember your friends’ names, have trouble doing basic math, and will forget where you put your keys…


 

What Causes Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in. Makes sense, yes?

Some say that seventy-five percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

Do you have a lack of energy? Low energy might be the first sign that the blood, tissues, and organs are not getting enough water — and your liver and brain are the least tolerant.

We lose water routinely when we breathe, and humidified air leaves the body.

We lose water when we sweat to cool the body.

We lose water when we rid the body of waste products.

We lose even more water than normal when our environment is HOT, especially when we’re laboring in it, and we sweat more.

We lose more water while in very dry environments.

Although it may seem counter intuitive, we lose water when we drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages which are actually ‘diuretics’. Alcohol is also a diuretic and will dehydrate the body.

As you age you also lose your thirst instinct that you had when you were younger. You may not realize how thirsty you really are…

Most people associate dehydration with a hot environment. But it is also common in a cold environment.

 

Symptoms Of Mild To Moderate Dehydration

Dry, sticky mouth
Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
Thirst (not always though…)
Decreased urine output
Dark Colored Urine
Fatigue or Weakness
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Head Rushes
Loss of Appetite
Dry skin
Headache
Constipation
Skin Flushing
Chills
Cramps

 

How To Know If You Are Dehydrated

Unfortunately, thirst isn’t always a reliable gauge of the body’s need for water, especially in children and older adults.

A better indicator is the color of your urine:

Clear or light-colored urine means you’re well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.

color-of-urine
Image: ClevelandClinic.org

 

What To Do If You Think You Are Dehydrated

DRINK MORE WATER!

When a person becomes dehydrated they have also lost electrolytes so it is very important to replenish them along with the water. The type of electrolytes needed for re-hydration are sodium and potassium salts usually found in sports drinks like Gatorade and pediatric formulas like Pedialite. Electrolytes are needed for electro-chemical reactions within cells. A lack of electrolytes in the body can interfere with the chemical reactions needed for healthy cell operation and is known as water intoxication.

Lesson: Force yourself to drink more water than you otherwise would.

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15 Comments

  1. It is more important for diabetics to keep hydrated. Also, keep up those electrolytes as well.

  2. In regards to dehydration and thoughts on having emergency water on hand; I’ve had a question for a while now that I can’t seem to find an answer to.

    We obviously pack emergency supplies in our BOB’s (bug out bags)- water, MRE’s, first aid, and etc, but how long do those items last packed away in the trunk of a vehicle. It would seem to me that trapped heat from the vehicle sitting in the sun for hours on end or the freezing cold would cause degradation in our supplies.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to better protect these supplies, short of having to carry them every place we go? Thanks.

    1. Cyan,

      I replace my foods in my 72-hour car kit twice a year due to the heat issue which shortens shelf life.

      For every 18-degrees-F, shelf life will halve or double (hotter-cooler).

      Temperature versus Food Storage Shelf Life

      Example: If the food expectancy is 1-year (room temperature), then it will be reduced to apprx. 6-months if held constantly at apprx. 90-degrees-F.

      One thing that I do with my vehicle kit is keep the food in a small cooler (out of the sun). Even though the cooler does not have ice in it, it will help maintain a more stabilized temperature and will not get quite as extreme inside.

      At the end of the day, there’s not much you can do to protect from the heat that builds up in a car during the summer other than parking out of the direct sun. Because of that, do not use foods that will melt into goo (some food bars will melt, etc.) and simply change your food twice each year.

      Regarding the water, heat won’t change the fact that it’s safe water, so long as it was purified to begin with.

      Medicines (in the first aid kit) will degrade with heat. Replace them too when you swap out your food inventory.

      By the way, when you swap out your food – don’t throw it out – it’s still good to eat… just consume it before it ages too long.

      1. Ken, always wondered about this “heat won’t change the fact that it’s safe water”…

        as in, I have wondered if the plastic bottles I keep (sealed fr purchase) in the car might grow bacteria over a few months? It seems to me they do taste different, but I have never gotten sick from drinking the older ones. (I do rotate every few months)

        I know I have often read that one should not leave any plastic bottles in the car/heat, as the water will absorb stuff fr the plastics. while I can’t argue with that, I always figured that if I was stranded somewhere, it would still be better than “no water”.

        so, do you think, water bottles left in car for few months (sealed) does grow bacteria, or not?

        1. “so, do you think, water bottles left in car for few months (sealed) does grow bacteria, or not?”

          No, it will not – presuming the water was pure to begin with, and remains factory sealed. In fact, clear water bottles if left in the sunlight will become purified via UltraViolet (UV-A) wavelength rays.
          How To Purify Water With Sunlight

          Regarding plastic water bottles,

          Safe Plastics For Food And Drink

          Major manufacturers of water bottles are apparently no longer using BPA in their plastics.

          Most all water bottles, juice and soda bottles, are made with #1 PETE.

          Having said that, I know from experience (as most of you do) that if you leave water bottles in a hot environment for a long time, you will taste some sort of plastic.

          This is one reason it is advisable to keep the water bottles out of hot places for storage.

          I change out my water bottles throughout the year in my truck kit.

          1. Ken
            just had a look at your link for Glass Water Bottles

            Such a good idea – the outside coating.

          2. Although I haven’t dropped mine (yet ;) ), the rubberized outer coating will help to reduce the likelihood of chipping or breakage. You also can’t beat glass as far as (not) affecting the taste of what’s inside.

          3. well, myself, I do drop stuff a lot. so, when I first read “glass”, I thought “not for me”.. Then I looked at the link, and I think this is the ticket. I, myself, prefer most things in glass. I swear I can taste almost any other container, including stainless. so, there must be some off gassing, even in stainless. (considering stainless is a collection of metals/elements which one might not wish to imbibe, this too was a concern)..

            so, this type you have mentioned seems like the answer.

            thanks

    2. What I do is keep a good cooler in my car. Heat affected/perishable supplies are in packing cubes (fast to pack) and partially filled water bottles are frozen and rotated every day or so (depends on how efficient your cooler is as to how often).

      1. I thought about adding insulation to the trunk compartment, and I think this will help, as well as with packing my bag in a small cooler like Ken suggested.

        I do like your idea though- we often freeze water bottles when we know that we will be outdoors for long periods of times and it would work great for protecting supplies. It’s just that I’m preparing additional BOB’s for the rest of the family. I couldn’t possibly expect them to be responsible enough to maintain their supplies at this point (although I hope that they begin to take an interest)nor can I do it for them on a daily basis- hence my somewhat lax approach to just leaving them in the trunk.

  3. Add “irritability” or “grouchiness” to the list of symptoms of mild-to-moderate dehydration, and put it near or even at the top of the list. Having spent considerable time over the last 30 years at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where relative humidity values reside in the very low single-digits, I have often heard those telling words, “Drink your water!” spoken to and/or by members of our groups. When in regions of low humidity (such as desert environments, but whether it’s hot or cold) if you’re not hydrating – constantly sucking on water – you are becoming dehydrated; and a degraded attitude should be recognized as a possible/probable indicator of the onset of dehydration in yourself or others. “Drink your water!”

    This is a very important article.

    1. Thank you for exposing that additional symptom of dehydration (irritability), and I can also attest to it’s validity as it has happened to me too!

  4. I would like to find a good recipe for a homemade electrolyte drink, with no sweeteners or caffeine. What I have tried is 1 oz each of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, ginger tea. A pinch of salt, diluted in 12 oz water. It was good, but the ginger was a bit too overpowering.

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