NETfacts: Self-care

Signs of Dehydration

Our bodies consist of about 70% water and require plenty of fluids throughout the day to remain hydrated and functioning properly. With the hot and humid summer weather just around the corner, it is even more important to drink plenty of water and should you notice any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign that you are mildly dehydrated:

  • Thirsty
    Being thirsty and having a dry mouth is the first indication of dehydration and can be easily treated by replacing lost fluids.
  • Sluggishness
    Dehydration can make you feel tired and weak, especially in warmer weather or when being physically active.
  • Dry Skin and Lips
    A simple test of dehydration is to pull the skin on the back of your wrist – if the pulled skin stays pinched and then slowly (more than 5-10 seconds) returns to normal, this is a sign you are dehydrated.
  • Feeling Lightheaded
    Feeling faint, dizzy or lightheaded upon standing can be a sign of dehydration. In addition to drinking, which provides two-thirds of our fluid intake, foods such as fruit, vegetables, fish and poultry provide the other third. Another good reason not to skip a meal!
  • Dark Urine
    An easy way to check your hydration level is to look at your urine. If you ‘pee clear’, you are likely well hydrated, but if your urine is dark yellow, this is a sign of dehydration and you need to replace the fluid your body is missing.

The above symptoms are signs of mild dehydration and should not be ignored. If dehydration continues and a fluid loss of 5% occurs, the symptoms can quickly become much more serious. Some of these symptoms include increased heart rate, body temperature and respiration, extreme fatigue, painful muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, lack of tears and tingling in the limbs.

A fluid loss of 10% is considered extreme and medical help must be obtained immediately. At this level of dehydration, symptoms include a drop in blood pressure, dry skin that shrivels, painful urination, confusion and lethargy, difficulty breathing, chest and abdominal pain, seizures and unconciousness.

Our bodies lose water during the day through every bodily function we have (urinating, bowel movements, sweating, crying and breathing) and it is essential that you are always well hydrated, especially in hot weather and when physically active.

On the go? Bring the H2O!

Image courtesy of Toa55 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net