Dehydration is no laughing matter. It’s a serious health concern, especially during the hot summer months. As the temperatures rise, it’s important to be able to recognize dehydration. Here are 9 signs you are dehydrated and what you can do to stay healthy all summer long.
1. Thirst & Dry Mouth
Thirst is a very subtle way that heat affects your body. Unfortunately, you’re already dehydrated if you feel thirsty. Being out in the sun even for 30 minutes can cause your body to lose fluids. The best solution is to start drinking water as soon as you notice your mouth going dry.
In fact, you should try to prevent yourself from even getting to this point. A good goal to shoot for is drinking half your weight in ounces each day. Even more so if you exercise or spend time in the sun. If you’re not a fan of plain water, try adding lemon or water enhancers for a bit of flavor. Avoid drinks with caffeine, like coffee or pop. They will only make you more dehydrated.
2. Fatigue Or Confusion
Similar to hunger, dehydration can impact your mood. (Think ‘hangry’, but with water instead.) It can also affect how you function. This is especially true for the elderly and young children. They can easily become more forgetful or less alert than usual.
Even mild dehydration can impact your energy and ability to think clearly. Beyond that, you risk having a heatstroke if your body temperature reaches 105°. This type of health issue is very serious. In fact, it could even land you in the hospital.
You may experience migraines or headaches from dehydration. It can also make you become delirious. Your body doesn’t have enough fluid to send to other areas that may need it. This leads to feelings of dizziness, weakness, and even nausea. It can also cause heat exhaustion as well.
It’s important to make sure you stop and cool down. If you don’t, your body will start shutting down, causing you to collapse.
4. Blurred Vision
Another subtle way your body shows it’s dehydrated is by affecting your eyesight. You lose bodily fluids as you sweat. This causes the blood vessels in your eyes to constrict, resulting in dry eyes or blurry vision.
In fact, any body part that is normally moist will feel irritated or dry as well. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially during any form of exercise.
5. Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps are a serious sign of dehydration. Tired muscles are a normal part of exercising. Anything beyond that, however, may be muscle cramping. As you sweat, your body loses both water and salt in an effort to cool down.
By not having enough fluid and salt, your muscles aren’t able to perform properly. As a result, your muscles begin cramping. You’ll want to drink fluids that contain sodium when you’re at this level of dehydration. The salt will help your body rehydrate, and more importantly, retain water.
6. Lack Of Sweat
Lack of sweat is one of the most serious signs of dehydration. Your body is in such dire need of water, that it isn’t able to produce sweat like it would in any other circumstance.
This can also be a sign of heatstroke or overheating. Regardless, it’s a clear warning that you need to cool down and rehydrate your body.
7. Dark Urine
One of the most recognizable signs of dehydration is having dark-colored urine. If you notice a dark color or blood in your urine, stop exercising immediately. Your urine should be a light yellow color when you’re properly hydrated.
On the other hand, completely clear color is a sign of being over-hydrated. This means you’re taking in too much fluid too quickly. Your body isn’t able to absorb any of the water or nutrients it desperately needs.
Fever is another common symptom of dehydration. It can lead to things like hyperthermia or chills. Overheating can cause your body’s normal temperature baseline to change. The results can mimic fever-like symptoms. This is a huge red flag for your health.
Make sure to immediately stop exercising and hydrate. More importantly, it’s crucial that you lower your body temperature. Taking an ice bath is the quickest way to regulate your body again and prevent things from getting worse.
9. Dry Skin
As with the other signs of dehydration, dry skin is another common symptom. Lack of fluid inside of your body means there’s a lack of fluid for the outside as well. Your skin doesn’t receive the fluid and nutrients it needs.
To illustrate, dehydrated skin won’t bounce back when it is pinched. It lacks elasticity and will stay pinched momentarily. The skin will also appear thin as it slowly relaxes back onto your body.
It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of dehydration. While dehydration isn’t 100% preventable, there are plenty of steps you can take to stay healthy. Click here to learn more about hitting your hydration goals.