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Dehydration Signs And Warnings


Dehydration is a health issue that can afflict anyone, including adults, children and the elderly. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, dehydration is present in more than half of all children and adolescents in the United States. Common to summer weather, heat waves can cause record high temperatures across the country, making both adults and children more susceptible to dehydration. Staying hydrated when it’s hot out is key to staying healthy.


Increased Thirst or Dry Mouth

If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. A dry mouth is also a common sign of dehydration. The simplest remedy is to immediately begin drinking water or a beverage with electrolytes. The best way to prevent getting to the point where you feel thirsty or experience dry mouth is to meet your daily hydration needs. According to the National Academy of Sciences, women need 2.7 liters or 11.4 cups of water a day. Men need 3.7 liters or 15 cups of water a day. If you spend time exercising or in direct sunlight, a higher water intake may be necessary.


Fatigue or Confusion

Mild levels of dehydration can affect your mood and cognitive functions. Particularly common among the young or elderly, fatigue or confusion can manifest as forgetfulness or lethargy. According to a study published by the University of Connecticut, mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. Mild dehydration is defined as a 1.5 percent loss in normal water volume within the body. Additionally, the adverse reaction is the same whether a person is sitting still or exercising.



A headache or a migraine is a common side effect of dehydration. Lightheadedness or delirium can also occur when a body lacks enough water. For example, marathon runners can sometimes be seen running in zigzags if they do not maintain their water intake. When the body does not have enough fluid to send to all necessary parts it cannot cool down effectively. Weakness, nausea, and dizziness can all lead to heat exhaustion or fainting. If you experience a headache, consider your water intake for the day and drink more if necessary.


Muscle Cramps

A serious sign of dehydration, muscle cramping or tightness is often painful. Cramping is particularly common post-exercise. Widespread muscle cramping is a sign of both sodium deficit and dehydration in the fluid spaces surrounding muscles. To prevent muscle cramps, drink sports beverages that contain sodium, or eat a snack, such as salted pretzels or low-fat cheeses, along with a hydrating beverage. Sodium is highly beneficial to your body when you are dehydrated, helping it re-hydrate and retain water.

With summer temperatures climbing into the 90’s and higher, staying hydrating is necessary for staying healthy during the hottest season of the year. The signs of dehydration are subtle and easily ignored. Understand the most common signs of dehydration and avoid any potential side effects or ailments by keeping water close by. If you begin experiencing the effects of dehydration or something more serious, it’s important to contact a primary care physician as soon as possible. A concierge medical service, Diamond Physicians offers direct access to a doctor via email and text, minimal wait time and unlimited, low-cost visits. Contact Diamond Physicians today to meet with an experienced primary care physician.