Dehydration can affect anyone, any time, anywhere and in any season including winter.
However, in the warmer months it’s very easy to become dehydrated without even realizing it.
There are many people who are at an especially high risk of dehydration. They include the elderly who have a reduced sensation of thirst. Athletes and tradespeople who perspire at a higher rate due to the physical nature of their jobs. And young children and infants who need to be offered liquids frequently, as they are unable to ask or know when they need it.
But you don’t just have to be in a high risk group to be affected by dehydration.
Picture this…..you’ve just put in a long day at the office and have had a couple of coffees to keep you going. After work you go out for drinks with friends.
You notice that you’ve hardly gone to the toilet all day and when you did go, it was a horrible dark brown color with a strong smell.
Feeling a little head achy and weak, you decided to have something to eat…assuming that you must be hungry. Oddly, you seemed to be craving salt so a big serve of French fries seemed like the perfect snack. After eating the fries you felt nauseous and really unwell. Your head started pounding and you felt like you needed to lay down.
You decided it’s time to go home, take some Panadol and go to bed. All the while not realizing that much of what you experienced was simply a lack of water.
Caffeine and alcohol exacerbated the dehydration problem by acting as diuretics further reducing your available water and the salt compounded the issue.
For many, the signs and symptoms of dehydration are often missed or attributed to something else entirely. For instance, nausea and headaches are common in people who need to rehydrate. As are feelings of fatigue and weakness, irritability, lack of concentration, palpitations, dry skin and muscle cramps and spasms.
The sensation of a dry mouth is one of the last symptoms that people experience and by the time that people register that they’re thirsty, they’re already dehydrated.
So how do you know if you are hydrated?
Well aside from a lack of the symptoms above, you will also have very light colored urine. This is really the best indication to go by.
Sometimes you have to drink water even when you don’t feel that you need it. This just keeps you topped up to account for all the body processes that use water continually to detoxify and purify your liver, bowel, kidneys, skin, etc.
So when in doubt aim for 2-3 litres of water a day. A small glass every hour or two is absorbed better than a whole litre at once! Keep a jug or water bottle within eyesight to prompt you to drink more and you body will thank you for it.