With the summer season at its peak and heat indexes climbing each day topped by a diagnosis of a C. difficile infection, dehydration can occur quickly.
Here is a short list of major signs to watch for that will indicate the body is low on fluid and prompt attention is needed to gain proper hydration. Dehydration is dangerous and can even be life-threatening.
** When any one is unable to maintain adequate hydration due to vomiting, diarrhea, excessive perspiring, over-exposure in hot weather — seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Signs of Dehydration (1)
Muscle Cramping: The hotter you get, the more likely you are to get muscle cramps, and that’s from a pure heat effect on the muscles. As the muscles work harder and harder, they can seize up from the heat itself. Changes in the electrolytes, changes in the sodium and potassium can lead to muscle cramping.
Fever and Chills
Food Cravings: especially something sweet due to the inability for the liver to release glycogen. Craving something sweet? Reach for a snack that has high water content. Most fruits and vegetables have high water content and will help maintain hydration.
How to Check If You’re Dehydrated
Here are two other ways to check if your body is dehydrated.
- Try this skin test. First, use two fingers to grab a roll of skin on the back of your hand (between where your watch sits and where your fingers start), advises Higgins. Pull the skin up about ½ to one centimeter high and then let the skin go. The skin should spring back to its normal position in less than a couple of seconds. Higgins says that if the skin bounces back slowly, you might be dehydrated.
- Check your urine. If you’re well-hydrated your urine will be mostly clear with a tinge of yellow, Higgins explains. Yellow, chardonnay, and orange are the “warning” colors to watch for. When your body is about three percent dehydrated your urine will be noticeably yellow. When your body is about five percent dehydrated, your urine will appear chardonnay-colored. When your body is more than five percent dehydrated – which is considered severely dehydrated – your urine will appear orange.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
- Keep your water bottle handy and sip throughout the day.
- Spice up plain water. Add a splash of fruit juice or chunks of fresh or frozen fruit,
- Try different teas. unsweetened decaffeinated flavored teas, which are available in lots of different flavors, they all count towards your daily fluid goal.
- Makeover your snacks. Refrain from dry, carb snacks like chips, pretzels, and crackers which have a very low water content, reach for fresh or frozen fruit, yogurt, healthy smoothies, celery with peanut butter, and cut veggies with hummus,
- Pile on the produce. Set a goal to make half of the meals plated with produce. Vegetable and fruit servings will supply water as well as a hearty dose of vitamins, minerals.
- Room temperature or temped water/beverages. When it comes to fluids, refrain from ingesting fluids with extreme cold temperatures. When ice water comes into the stomach it constricts the arteries surrounding the stomach, which help the stomach function properly and help with water absorption and Ice water will just sit in the stomach until it warms up. If you hear water swishing around in your stomach, it means the water is not getting absorbed. Fluids that are cool or room temperature are better options.
- Refrain from alcoholic beverages and high caffeinated drinks.
What is the daily total water intake, which includes water gained from foods and other beverages like tea and milk? The Institute of Medicine recommends that most women get about 2.7 liters of water a day (or about 12 cups), and most men get about 3.7 liters a day (or about 15 cups).
- Always discuss fluid intake with healthcare providers as cardiac and kidney conditions may alter the amount of fluids allowed on a daily basis. When in doubt, contact a healthcare provider or visit a local clinic/hospital for complete assessment. Stay Safe!