Summer is right around the corner and with that comes hot, sticky and humid weather. We have already had some very hot days this year. Some of us can handle the hot weather better than others. Anyone may become dehydrated, but young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk.
Dehydration occurs when there isn’t enough water to replace what’s lost throughout the day, losing more fluid than you are taking in. Your system literally dries out. Sometimes dehydration occurs for simple reasons: You don’t drink enough because you’re sick, busy, exercising or because you lack access to safe drinking water when you’re traveling, hiking or camping.
Common symptoms of dehydration can include:
Dry, sticky mouth
Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
Decreased urine output — no wet diapers for three hours for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
Few or no tears when crying
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:
Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
Lack of sweating
Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber
Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head
If you’re a healthy adult, you can usually treat mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, such as water or a sports drink (Gatorade, Powerade, others). Foods can be a good source of liquids. Watermelon, grapes, pineapple, oranges, tangerines, jello, popsicles can all help you get fluids. Please seek immediate medical care if you develop severe signs.
Be well and enjoy the upcoming summer.