Courtesy of Cache Valley Hospital

The weather is warm and it is time to be outside. It is now the season to play with our kids, grandchildren, garden, and take the dog for a walk.  During this time, especially if there is a heat wave, we must be careful not to become dehydrated. Dehydration will occur if our body loses too much water along with salt and potassium. You need to be aware of the possibility of dehydration, even if you’re just gardening, lounging in the backyard, or at the beach or lake.

Signs of dehydration are thirst and dry mouth, loss of appetite, decrease in sweating or complete halt in sweating, muscle cramps or spasm, nausea and vomiting, feeling lightheaded or having a headache, heart palpitations, feeling weak, and urine is concentrated and is dark yellow in color, or you have a decreased output.

To avoid dehydration, there are some steps you can take:

  • Drink two glasses of fluid before you go outside and two to four glasses of cool fluids every hour. A sports drink is a good choice, but if you are on a low-salt diet, seek advice from your doctor about whether a sports drink is a good choice for you. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. By the time you are thirsty, dehydration has already started to set in.
  • Don’t be outside during the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest point and temperatures are at their maximum.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages or drinks with caffeine.
  • Eat summer fruits and vegetables which are comprised mostly of water.
  • Try to wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and wear a hat with a large brim.

If you or a loved one’s dehydration is serious, you may need to see a doctor to get treated with intravenous (IV) fluids. Severe dehydration may require you to go to the hospital. Whether you’re traveling or at home, make sure you know where the closest ER is located.