Dehydration is Not Just a Summer Problem!
Photo by Chris Ralston on Unsplash
When it’s hot outside, we sweat more. And when we sweat more, we lose more water, which makes us thirsty. Dehydration happens more often in the summer months, but what many people do not realize is that it is just as easy to become dehydrated in the winter! Because very few people recognize the signs of dehydration in the winter, it can be even more dangerous.
What’s important to note is that dehydration during any of the seasons can be very dangerous.The human body is made up of almost 70% water – it only takes a 2% decrease for dehydration to kick in! According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. Anyone can become dehydrated by the condition is especially dangerous for young children and the elderly.
Staying hydrated is crucially important for many reasons. The main reason is that water is vital to maintain proper organ function, healthy blood pressure, and a steady oxygen flow throughout your body. Have you ever wondered why you felt a bit dizzy when you’re dehydrated? It’s probably because the lack of water caused your blood pressure to dip. Water also carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, controls blood pressure and lubricates the joints.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common cause of dehydration in young children is severe diarrhea and vomiting. Older adults may have conditions or take certain medications that can increase their risk.
- Muscle Cramps
- Dark Urine
Complications of Dehydration
The Mayo Clinic reports that serious complications can be brought on by dehydration, including heat injury, urinary and kidney problems, seizures, and low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock). A heat injury can cause mild heat cramps to potentially threatening heatstroke’s. “Electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, help carry electrical signals from cell-to-cell. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and sometimes a loss of consciousness.”
To stay hydrated, always make sure to drink enough fluids! Staying hydrated doesn’t always mean drinking water. Water-based drinks such as tea, coffee and juice count, too. Just be sure to keep the sugar content in mind. Also, eating water-rich fruits and vegetables are a good source of hydration, too. For infants, the Mayo Clinic, to use an “oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte or Hydralyte, which contain water and salts in specific portions to replenish both fluids and electrolytes.”