Summertime is filled with sun and fun and a plethora of outdoor activities! The kids are out of school and sports events, beach trips and pool days turn into every-day life for some. Dehydration is a big concern in these hot summer months. Dehydration occurs when a person, especially young children and older adults, lose more fluid than they take in. We lose fluids through perspiration, urination, fevers, diarrhea, and vomiting. The lack of fluids prevents your body from performing normal functions and can lead to heat injuries, urinary and kidney problems, seizures, and low blood volume shock. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.

During these hot and humid days of summer, we can prevent dehydration by consuming more fluids and eating more fruits and vegetables. We should take in more fluids when we are ill, if we are experiencing symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, and when we are doing strenuous exercise or sweating from hot weather.

Signs of mild or moderate dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Not peeing very much
  • Dark yellow pee
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps

Signs of severe dehydration include:

  • Not peeing or having very dark yellow pee
  • Very dry skin
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion, or irritability
  • Fainting

Symptoms for babies and young children can be different than for adults:

  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • No tears when crying
  • Dry diapers for 3 hours
  • Sunken eyes, cheeks, soft spot on the top of the skull
  • Sleepiness, lack of energy, or irritability

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages, and food. About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.

So, let’s have fun this summer…. But be smart and drink water!

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