Summer heat means running around outside, and running around means perspiring, and perspiring, if care isn’t taken, means dehydration—and that can lead to brain damage and worse. Just a 1.5 percent loss of water can cause harm. Here are some ways to avoid getting dehydrated:
- First and most obvious: drink plenty of fluids ideally water; carbonated drinks, alcohol, and drinks high in sugar can make things worse. Listen to thirst and drink something when it comes.
- Eating fruit and other foods high in water can also help fend off dehydration. Fruit can also help maintain a proper electrolyte balance
- Even without thirst as a trigger, experts recommend an additional liter of water per hour of exercise. It’s best to drink at least some of this water in advance.
Dehydration is a serious health risk. In addition to being thirsty—which is actually not always an effect of the condition—dehydrated people are logy and irritable. Another sign is dark yellow urine, as opposed to pale or clear, though someone suffering dehydration isn’t going to be urinating very often at all. Headaches, dizziness, and dry skin are also common.
People who are dehydrated should drink water, but slowly; it may seem better to get as much liquid as fast as possible, but that can actually overwhelm the body and cause drowning. Severe dehydration requires medical treatment. Signs include bloody stool or vomit, unusually dry eyes with no tears, sunken eyes, rapid heart rate, and going eight hours without urinating at all.