Reviewed by: Amy Surdam
When the sun starts to shine, it’s hard not to want and go enjoy spending time outside. But, along with the sun comes the heat, which can cause severe complications like dehydration.
Health professionals constantly talk about the importance of hydration for athletes. However, dehydration is caused by numerous factors and can happen to anyone. When the temperatures start rising, it’s essential to be on the lookout for the warning signs and know what precautions you should take.
Continue reading to discover the causes of dehydration, what to do if you’re dehydrated and how to prevent dehydration from interrupting your summer activities.
Dehydration occurs when your body loses or uses more fluids than you put back into it. When this happens, your body may not have enough water to perform its regular functions, like carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells or flushing out waste products.
Everyone can become dehydrated from heat, although certain groups have increased risks, such as older adults, athletes and those with chronic conditions who use certain medications. Children also have increased chances for dehydration through diarrhea, fever or vomiting, as they tend to have higher metabolic rates, causing them to lose water more quickly than adults.
Typical causes of dehydration include:
Many tend to believe that thirst is a tell-tale sign of being dehydrated. In reality, you’re likely to have already lost two to three percent of your fluids by the time you start feeling thirsty, signifying you’ve been dehydrated for quite some time. So, it’s best to continue to drink fluids even when you aren’t feeling thirsty, especially when performing activities in the heat.
It’s crucial to know the various symptoms of dehydration as they tend to differ depending on age. Young children are often disadvantaged as they can’t communicate when they’re feeling thirsty or unusually sleepy. They are likely to experience sunken eyes and cheeks, fewer wet diapers, tearless crying and irritability if they are dehydrated.
Other common signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
Your hypothalamus acts as an internal thermostat and sends signals to your body to regulate your body temperature. When this temperature begins to rise on hot days, it will send signals to your body to start the process of sweating. When sweat evaporates from your skin, it takes excess heat, bringing your body temperature down to a normal range.
On days with extreme heat, your body’s cooling system may not function efficiently, increasing your body temperature. Doctors regularly highlight the importance of hydration for athletes or those who work outside on these days, suggesting certain precautions to take.
Consider some of the following tips to prevent dehydration on days when its hot outside:
Depending on how much water you’re missing from your body, you could endure mild, moderate or severe dehydration. Once you’ve reached the level of severe dehydration, the blood vessels in your brain begin to shrink, leading to memory loss and lack of coordination.
Severe dehydration can also lead to serious complications such as seizures, kidney failure, hypovolemic shock and heatstroke. To prevent these types of complications from occurring, stay on the lookout for danger signs such as:
There’s nothing worse than missing out on a day by the pool because you’re dehydrated. Taking the necessary precautions and consistently drinking fluids will help keep you safe and healthy for whatever you want to do. When you think you or a loved one is showing signs or symptoms of severe dehydration, you can go to SouthStar Urgent Care for dehydration treatment.
At SouthStar Urgent Care, we provide an array of services, from urgent care to occupational care. Our comprehensive services are offered across 30 locations in Louisiana, supported by our dedicated team of professionals. With their help and our daily availability, we live out our promise each day — striving to deliver care that is personal.
You can trust our professionals to restore your control over your health care the way it should be. Find a SouthStar location near you and walk in for a visit today!