Staying Hydrated in Summer

Now that we are full swing into summer, it is important to make sure you are staying hydrated. Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions.  Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe based on how much of the body’s fluid is lost or not replenished. When it is severe, dehydration is a life-threatening emergency.1

Common Causes

Someone can become dehydrated if they lose too much fluid or do not drink enough water or fluids. Common causes of fluid loss include vigorous exercise, especially in hot weather; excess sweating, severe vomiting, diarrhea or fever. Common reasons why someone may not consume enough fluid is if they do not feel like drinking because they are unwell, nausea, sore throat or mouth sores.1 It is important to drink enough water in hot weather, especially if you are active.

There are a few groups of people who are more prone to dehydration than others and should be monitored closely when the weather gets warmer or if they are sick. Some of these groups include: infants and young children, adults 65 or older, people who have mental illness and those who are physically ill, particularly those with heart disease or high blood pressure.2

Symptoms of Dehydration

The symptoms of dehydration range depending on severity. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration can include increased thirst, dry mouth, decreased urine output, dry and cool skin, headache and muscle cramps. If not treated, more severe symptoms of dehydration can develop including no urination, dry and shriveled skin, dizziness, confusion, fainting, rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes, listlessness and even shock.1 If you feel you are becoming dehydrated, start drinking water or sport drinks with electrolytes. If someone is having trouble swallowing, sucking on ice cubes, ice chips or popsicles can help keep them hydrated.1

Your INR test may be high if you are dehydrated. If you feel you are dehydrated when you test your INR, make sure you let your doctor know. It may be something as simple as just rehydrating after exercise, but if you have vomiting or diarrhea, your doctor may need to adjust your Warfarin dose.

So, have a safe healthy summer and be sure to pack water in your picnic basket!

References:  

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001977/

2. http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.asp