Everyone knows about the importance of drinking enough water. Even if scientists no longer go by the old adage of eight glasses of water a day, it is still essential that you make sure you’re getting enough. Otherwise, you risk dehydration. Unfortunately, being able to determine when you’re actually dehydrated and when you’re just thirsty isn’t always a simple task. Therefore, it is important that you understand all of the signs in order to ensure that dehydration doesn’t start wreaking havoc on your health or that of your loved ones.
Most Common Signs of Dehydration in Adults
Although dehydration is generally an even more serious problem in children and older people, it can still cause numerous issues no matter what your age. This makes it essential that you pay attention and monitor yourself for any of the following signs.
- Darker-colored urine
- Urinating more infrequently
- Extreme, unquenchable feelings of thirst
Should you notice any of these signs, you’ll want to make sure that you immediately start taking steps to get rehydrated. The problems caused by dehydration tend to become worse over time. In essence, the more dehydrated you are, the more likely you are to experience more serious problems as a result of it. At the same time, it will also take more for you to finally become fully rehydrated. For these reasons, it’s imperative that you take immediate action and don’t wait until your symptoms finally become too much to bear.
Identifying Dehydration in Children
Infants and children are even more prone to dehydration than adults. Dehydration can also become a much more serious problem for young ones. In some cases, they may even require hospitalization in order to overcome their dehydration issues. Therefore, it is imperative that you monitor your child for all of the following potential symptoms.
- Extremely dry mouth or tongue
- Wetting their diaper less frequently
- Sunken-looking eyes or cheeks
- Sunken soft spot (for infants)
- Unexplainable irritability or restlessness
- Crying without producing tears
Should you notice any of these signs, you’ll want to immediately begin getting your child rehydrated. However, if any of these symptoms persist for a longer period (more than 24 hours), you might want to consult with your pediatrician to make sure that your child’s dehydration isn’t a sign of a potentially more serious health issue.
Additional Dehydration Signs You May Be Unaware Of
- Thirst, fatigue and headaches are all fairly common and quite obvious signs of dehydration. In fact, most of us already know that drinking water is often enough to make these issues go away. However, there are actually a number of other potential signs and symptoms of dehydration that most people are unaware of. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to also watch out for any of these signs or issues.
- Unusually Bad Breath. Saliva helps your mouth fight against bad-breath causing bacteria. The fact that your body is unable to produce as much saliva when dehydrated means that your bad breath might just be a sign that you’re in dire need of hydration.
- Chapped Lips and Dry Skin. Your body is normally quite good at maintaining proper levels of hydration on its own. However, dehydration can lead to a reduction in blood volume and over time this can directly cause your skin to become dried out and your lips to be chapped.
- Unusual Food Cravings. If you suddenly find yourself feeling a craving for food at a time when you’re usually never hungry, it may also be a sign of dehydration. The reason is that your body requires water to produce and utilize energy. In this sense, low water equals low energy.
- Muscle Cramps. Although muscle cramps are usually associated with low electrolyte levels, they could also be a direct result of your muscles overheating due to dehydration.
Causes of Dehydration and How to Prevent Them
Simply forgetting to drink enough water can easily lead to dehydration, and in this case, all you’ll usually need to do is down a few glasses to see a rapid improvement in your condition. However, dehydration can also be caused by a number of other factors that may require you do to more than just drink some water.
Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of dehydration as it usually leads to a huge loss of water and important electrolytes in a short amount of time. In this case, it is imperative that you drink enough water and restore your electrolytes until you finally get over the diarrhea. However, if the condition doesn’t go away within 24 hour or so, you’ll definitely want to contact a doctor.
Sweating excessively is another common cause. Simply put, the more you sweat, the more you’ll need to drink to replace all those additional lost fluids. Therefore, you need to make sure that you remember to drink even more whenever you’re in hot, humid conditions or performing any strenuous activities.
Having a fever is another factor that commonly contributes to dehydration, especially if you have a fever along with diarrhea or vomiting. Fevers cause to you to sweat and thus lose valuable liquids. However, having a higher body temperature simply causes you to become dehydrated more quickly in general even if you’re not sweating.
If you find yourself urinating excessively, it could eventually lead to dehydration. As well, it could be a sign that you need to change medications or potentially that you have undiagnosed diabetes. Therefore, you’ll want to contact your doctor if the symptoms persist for any length of time.
Dehydration is a serious issue that has the potential to create all sorts of problems for your health and well-being. This makes it essential that you stay diligent and watch out for the possible signs. In this way, you’ll give yourself a much better chance of getting rehydrated before any issues arise.
Brent Frayser is a media relations representative for Pure Barre, who is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration (Major in Marketing, Minor in Management). He was born and raised in the south, is very outgoing, with a strong sense of determination. In his spare time, he enjoys: reading, writing, coaching baseball and football, and spending time with family and friends.