Staying hydrated is essential for our health and if you live in a warm weather state, it is even more important. According to a recent study at the University of Florida, three-fourths of Americans don’t drink enough water. This is not only bad for your general health, but dehydration is a serious condition that can lead to even bigger problems.

Simply put, dehydration happens when our bodies lose more fluids than we take in. Every day, people naturally lose fluids through the water vapor in their breath to other more obvious ways like their urine and sweat.

Due to busy schedules, “needing” that extra caffeine boost, or even during a strenuous workout we sometimes forget to keep drinking water. Without enough water, serious symptoms can arise.

For that reason, it’s important to understand the signs of dehydration:

The Symptoms Of Mild To Moderate Dehydration:

  • Dry, sticky-feeling mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness — children less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Reduced urine output
  • In infants, no wet diapers for three hours
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

The Symptoms Of Severe Dehydration Include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness and/or sleepiness in infants and children
  • In adults, irritability and confusion
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
  • Little or no urination, or very dark urine
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled, dry skin with no elasticity that doesn’t rebound when pinched into a fold
  • In infants, sunken fontanels, the soft spot on the top of a baby’s head
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • No tears when crying
  • Fever
  • In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness

Causes

There are many conditions and even activities that can lead to rapid fluid loss, and ultimately dehydration:
  • Fever
  • Heat exposure
  • Too much exercise
  • Vomiting, diarrhea and increased urination due to infection
  • Diseases such as diabetes
  • The inability to seek appropriate water and food (as in the case of a disabled person)
  • No access to safe drinking water
  • Significant injuries to skin, such as burns or mouth sores, or severe skin diseases or infections (in this case, water is lost through skin that’s been damaged)

Keep reading on when to seek treatment by heading over to the next page…

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